What does two plus two equal? Simple enough question, but what’s the answer?
An engineer, who thinks with precision might reply, “In absolute terms, four.”
An architect, who is always looking at different angles could suggest, “There are several possibilities: Two plus two equals four, but so does three plus one. So, it’s all a matter of choosing the right option.”
A lawyer, who looks for loopholes and often speaks in riddles of legalese, could quite conceivably say, “Tell me, what would you like the answer to be?”
Sometimes we all have a streak of the lawyer in us. When we talk about attempting to determine God’s will that’s exactly what we do—we presume God’s will to be what we want it to be.
Quite often we are like an archer who shoots the arrow and then runs and draws a bull’s-eye where the arrow landed. We can deny our lawyer inclinations or the sleight of hand archer tricks if we like, but denial won’t change reality.
Romans 12:1-2 - NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul’s overarching point in the above passage is about obedience that is rooted in the heart. We are to offer ourselves—our life—which translates into our time, talents, and treasures. We are to be living sacrifices.
In the Old Testament, a priest would kill an animal and cut it up in pieces and place it on the altar. That’s the imagery and concept Paul is getting at in these verses.
We are to offer ourselves—we are to daily lay aside our own desires to follow Christ. Our energy and resources are to be at God’s disposal as we trust him to guide us. It’s about endeavoring to aim our lives at the bull’s-eye that God has drawn.
God wants the best for us—he is concerned with the shaping of our character, and our desire for his presence. The most important part of his plan for us is for each one to have a close relationship with him.
Ultimately we yearn for spiritual balance—we instinctively want to experience proper spiritual alignment. God’s Word reveals God’s general will for his children. His specific will for us as individuals will never contradict the principles of Scripture.
To discover God’s specific will for our decisions we need to consult God with the understanding that he is willing to guide us, and that we’re capable of receiving his guidance. We must want to hear what God is saying—we must demonstrate our sincerity by doing what God has already asked us to do, and be open to acting upon whatever new guidance he gives us.
For example, if God has called or gifted us in a certain area, but for whatever reason we are not using those gifts for his glory—we’ve chosen to bury them in the ground or hide them under a bushel, then it’s iffy to expect much guidance in another area of our life.
Disobedience tends to clog up the lines of communication. Living sacrifices strive for obedience in every area of their lives—striving for obedience is seldom easy. Nor should it be. Maturity or character development does not happen on easy street.
Our character is tempered and strengthened when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices. We need to consider every aspect of our decisions, asking questions to determine whether our choices honor God and help us grow spiritually.
It is entirely normal to have doubts—we ought not feel guilty having them. Rather, we can use doubts to help us investigate each facet of our decision.
We must be patient as we trust God—God will act in his way and in his time. After all he is God. He does know the beginning from the end—he sees around every corner of our lives.
Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, proclaimed, “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
King David of Israel counseled, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Oft-times God reveals only enough for us to take the next step rather than showing us everything that lies ahead. God is relational. He wants to guide us instead of simply handing us a map to use alone—God desires to be involved in our lives. He comes alongside us and asks for faith on every step of the journey.
Seeking—attempting to know God’s will—is a process that never ends. It involves engaging in the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, study, meditation, fasting, servanthood, and community. As we do so, we become stronger and stronger, and we can take heart as we wait for the LORD.
"Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer~ "Take the words of Jesus and let them become the Supreme Court of the Gospel for you." ~John G. Lake~ "In the spiritual life only one thing produces genuine joy and that is obedience." ~Richard Foster~
God is God and he can do whatsoever pleases him. He could skywrite the answers for us, but don’t expect that any time soon. Mostly God operates in the realm of the natural world that he created, using ordinary means to speak to us.
Sometimes God will use signs and wonders, but only when he deems necessary—if signs and wonders are a requirement for us to know and do God’s will, then we are living with a grand deception. We are actually telling God to jump through a hoop to prove to us that he is indeed God.
According to Scripture that is not the way God functions. God asks us to take him at his word and believe him to be God. Then as we believe God, we’re asked to allow God to be God in our lives—that is discipleship.
Discipleship is a day-to-day trusting and believing God to be God; a moment-by-moment dependence on God. Discipleship is an open invitation for God the Holy Spirit to continually renew our mind so that more and more and more we project the attitude of Christ; it is working on our primary relationship with God.
When you miss hitting God's bull's-eye, do you take courage & press on in faith?
Be Courageous & Proceed
Once we’ve determined God’s will for a particular decision we need to be courageous and proceed—we need to act on it quickly and never hesitate.
IF we have been faithful in the process of seeking God’s will, then we ought never second-guess, but rather, take great solace in the realization that God works all things together for his purposes.
Paul wrote some words to the Romans that should be a mantra for every believer: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This is tremendous truth that should liberate us to keep going forward.
What part of all things do we not comprehend? God has a plan, he is working that plan, and we are invited to be a part of it. We’re to diligently seek his will, but despite all our best efforts and intentions, we’ll seldom get it exactly right.
We’ll make many mistakes and take lots of wrong turns. When we do, instead of wringing our hands with worry or freezing up inside, we should draw close to God because he’s cheering us on.
We live with an assurance that he will transform the results of each of our choices and decisions into a jigsaw piece that fits the bigger picture. We can courageously aim at God’s bull’s-eye because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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