Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, December 07, 2005 at 12:00 PM

Response (2)

How do I know when it's God's will and not my will? Through prayer right? Somehow we are able to align ourselves with God's will...right?

2) The next question you bring up is "how do we know what God's will is compared to my will?"

Once again, I have to point you to the "hidden" vs. "revealed" wills of God. We cannot know what God's plans are. Maybe tomorrow Christ is going to come again and all our plans will be for nothing.

But! We do know what God's commands are. We have the Law, we have Christ's sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7), and we have the entire Bible. We have the promise of God in 2 Timothy that His Word is sufficient for every good work.

"But how do we apply it? How can we know what to do?"

I think Romans 12:1-2 gives us an excellent picture:

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1) "By the mercies of God" - Remember Romans 12 comes after 11 chapters of packed theology. Paul talks about how all people are under sin, that no one is righteous, but because we cannot come to God, God came to us by offering His Son to live that perfect life and to bear the punishment that we rightfully deserved. On the heels of that, we get this passage, through which we can draw some insights.

Remember God's mercy. You, who once were dead, are now alive because of His mercy and grace. Remember as well that you can't do anything without God's mercy. Remember also that God, who gave us His Son, will also with Him, give us all things. (Romans 8:32) He has given us His Spirit who prays for us even when we don't know what to pray for. He has truly given us all that we are, promised us all that we will be. Promised that He will never let go of us (Romans 8:28-30). It is in light of these beautiful promises that we are to worship God. It is in light of these great deeds that God has done for us that we are able to " present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" remember God's mercy.

2) "A living sacrifice" - Your life here on earth is meant as a "living sacrifice." Don't get me wrong, God, being God, doesn't need you. He doesn't need anything or anyone. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. But He has commanded you to offer your life. To live in a manner holy and pleasing to Him. What does this involve? This is obedience to God's law. This is mercy to neighbors, justice in all dealings.

Hosea 6:6 reads) 6For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Hosea is talking about the physical burnt offerings and is pointing to the fact that these things are nothing without the steadfast love, without the knowledge of God. Dedicate yourself to seeking God, to knowing about God, to living a life for God. It's not about the laws and regulations that you can obey, it's about offering up your heart, your mind, your soul, your strength to God.

3) "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" - What this radical living, this whole offering, this spiritual act of worship involves is a complete nonconformity to this world. All those things that the world things are good: money, success, power, these are all replaced by those things that God lays down for us to live: humility, service, justice, love. No longer are we to be like the Gentiles, who lord it over one another, but we are to be like Christ, who humbled himself to wash his disciples' feet.

We aren't to follow the world in their worldly wisdom. We don't need fancy colors, compelling skits, or popular music to convince someone to come follow Christ; we need the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which proclaims the forgiveness of sins. We don't need the world's definition of happiness, success, influence, joy, we have God's.

With God's beautiful gift of a new heart, we no longer need to conform, but we can be transformed. This is not only a turning away from the ways of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3), but also a turning to the ways of God. Seek a conformity with His will, bringing every thought, every action, captive for God's glory.

4) "By testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - With this radical transformation, we, as God molds us more and more into His image, we know more and more how to apply God's Word into our lives. We learn and understand to a greater extent what actions would be in conformity with God's (revealed) will, and are convicted of what actions are sinful. These actions are, by nature, "good, acceptable, and perfect." This occurs, as you mentioned, through prayer, but it also occurs through mediation on Scripture. The more we know, the more the Holy Spirit grants us insight into God's Word through prayer and meditation, the more we will learn what God's Will is. It may never be as clear as "Mickey, turn left here,” but it will certainly provide guidelines and preventive measures to keep us from wandering far from the Lord that loves us.

As the Word promises, one day we will be as Isaiah says in ch. 30:21)

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

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