What is God’s will for my life?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s MERCY, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship,” Romans 12:1.
We have all had seasons in our lives where we found it difficult to discern God’s will for specific complex situations or a particular influential decision that needs to be made. Romans 12 is of great importance in this regard and serves as a clear blueprint for discerning God’s will for everyday realities to the big life decisions that we have to make. The “therefore” at the beginning of this passage covers the magnitude of the gospel’s impact on the life of every believer, which has been covered in the first 11 chapters – God’s will is only discerned by those who have the gospel message firmly embedded in their beings. Paul also points out early on that he is speaking to “brothers and sisters” which is family talk – God’s will is made clear to ordinary people who live regular lives not only to the select holy, prophetic, apostolic few.
- What are your motives?
If God’s will is accessible to ordinary believers then why is that we so often struggle to discern it? Perhaps it is because our motivation for doing his will is sometimes wide of the mark. All kinds of attitudes sneak in undetected into the lives of believers when trying to discern God’s will, some of which can be very self-seeking. Paul is absolutely clear in his instructions to the Roman believers, “God’s Mercy”, is the correct motive to do His will. Any other kind of motivation, no matter how good it may seem, will always lead to disappointment with God, his people (the church) and his kingdom activities in the world. His mercy can never let you down while people and institutions always will at some point simply because they are permeated by self-centeredness. Of course, this also works the other way round because we also often put our interests first before those of others.
- What are you doing now?
Romans 12:4-5 goes on to explain very clearly what God’s general will is for every believer, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” So for each believer there is a function, for us to be fulfilled within the Body of Christ, the local church. Every believer has a unique set of gifts, talents and abilities that are to be used within the local church where we belong. We are not to compare our gifts with one another or be jealous of each other, but rather complement one another by working together so that Jesus is honoured and the church grows spiritually and numerically. Please note this serving within the body of Christ is the normal expectation of every believer, not the select few. I do believe there are two questions waiting for us at heavens gates, “What did you do with my Son Jesus?” … and, “What did you do with the gifts, talents and abilities I gave you?”
If you want to know the specifics of God’s will for your life you must be doing his general will first.
- Is love increasing in you?
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves,” Romans 12:9-10.
It is God’s will for all of us to put love into action. Sincere love seeks God’s kingdom first even when it is most difficult, when it is hard to love. It is God’s will that we keep on growing in love for him and for one another, allowing the Holy Spirit to do his sanctifying work in us, leading us away from evil towards what is good for us personally, in our relationships, in our churches and in society. Devotion and honour are not words we often hear in our “culture of rights” today but they are daily requirements of us from God’s Word. Perhaps the toughest reality of God’s general will for all of us South Africans, is the final verse of this chapter, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” Romans 12:21. It is God’s general will for every believer to break the cycles of revenge in all our relationships including the historical ones in our nation.
If you want to know the specifics of God’ will for your life you must be doing his general will first.
Prayer: Father thank you that your will knowable, provable and practical.Guide us each day to do your general will to the best of our abilities, motivated by your mercy. We know that as we do this the specifics of your will for each of us will become clearer and clearer. Amen!