Knowing God’s Will
To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in His will makes us dangerous. — Erwin McManus
Part of growing in Christ is learning that we have a part to play in it. Yes, it’s the amazing power of God that’s transforming us, but we participate in the transformative process. While God could intervene in our lives in a way that we don’t have to do anything, He doesn’t—we’re free to make our own choices.
We often exhibit impatience in our lives and want to get to the result quicker than is reasonable. We want to be in our best shape ever after going to the gym for a week. We want to climb the career ladder after being on the job for a month. We want to have lifelong friendships shortly after we become friends. These desires are only fulfilled once we’ve put in effort. When we’ve stayed consistent at the gym, worked hard at our job, and invested in our friendships, then we get results.
A similar example we find in the Bible is in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform 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.” (NIV)
That sounds amazing, right? We’d love to be able to discern His will while we live on earth. And this verse tells us that we can truly do just that. But, we have to make the choice to not conform to the world’s standard, but instead, be inwardly transformed first.
For us to believe that we can “test and approve” what God’s plans are and then live our lives in any way we want seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it? If we’re living for ourselves and not allowing God to lead us, how is it possible to know what God’s plans are? This doesn’t mean that we make perfect choices in our pursuit of following Jesus. What it does mean is that we are pursuing Jesus. As we do, Jeremiah 29:13 says that we’ll find Him. And when we find Him, we’ll start to see His purposes and plans laid out before us.
Let’s be clear: we don’t do anything to earn our salvation. Jesus covered that once and for all by dying on the cross. But when it comes to growing our faith, we do have a part to play.
In the next three days of this Plan, we’ll look at other passages in the Bible where we play a part first before yielding the spiritual benefits listed.
Do you feel that you have “conformed” to the world’s standards? In what areas of your life do you see this? Ask God to show you where you’ve chosen to follow the ways of the world instead of seeking God.