Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Part 2

It’s a question that has stymied many believers who, having trusted Christ for salvation, obeyed Him in Baptism and surrendered to Him for service, have wondered how they can know for certain what God’s perfect will for their life is in their daily walk and work for their Lord and Savior.  They have a heart that is obedient, a will that is surrendered and a mind that is spiritual, yet the nagging question remains, “Can I know for sure that I am right now in the center of God’s perfect will for my life?”  In our previous installment of “You and God” (3/11/21) I suggested that knowing the will of God is not the issue so much as doing the will of God is.  The Psalmist cried, “Teach me to do thy will, O God,” (Ps. 143:10) and affirmed “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” (Ps. 40:8)  In each case it was the doing, not the knowing, of God’s will that was on the Psalmist’s mind as he wrote his inspired pleas and praises.  I want to tell you what God says about doing His will, the prerequisite of which is to know His will.  First, though, let me enumerate several ways which will guarantee that you will neither know nor do His blessed will:

  1.  You will not know God’s will if you are doing something contrary to His Word.
  2. You will not know God’s will if you plan to do something and then set out to ask God to bless your plan after you have already set in motion your devices.
  3. You cannot find God’s will by asking counsel from people who either do not know God or who are not living obedient, godly lives.
  4. You cannot discern God’s will by merely evaluating the circumstances and then proceeding on your way on the basis of what you see or feel.
  5. You will not find God’s will by testing the majority opinion.
  6. You cannot find God’s will if you are living in sin.
  7. You will not know and do God’s will if you are trusting anything or anyone other than God to lead you.

(I will be glad to offer verses and further scriptural insights on any of the above mentioned “cannots” to anyone who wishes more information; just reply with your questions and I will do my best to respond)

So, that being said, what is the positive side of the coin?  The key is found in Romans 12:1,2:“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the will of God (which is) that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Note I have changed the word order of the last clause following “that ye may prove what is the will of God…”  This change of word order does no injustice to the original text and does, in fact, more accurately reflect the New Testament Greek text.  This change suggests that Paul was not describing God’s will as good and acceptable and perfect but that he was defining God’s will as being whatever was good and acceptable and perfect).

Paul states here that there are two qualifiers for knowing the will of God:  (1)  a body that is surrendered:  the method of surrender being that of yielding your members as instruments of righteousness (Rom.6:13), a daily moment by moment surrender; the manner of which is sanctification (holy/separated) and the motive of which is that it is our reasonable service to God. (2) A mind that is being renewed (v2), not conformed or poured into the mold of this world but rather one that is being transformed by daily renewal (2 Cor.3:18) which happens because of a supernatural power (God’s Word, a mirror) through a spiritual process (from glory to glory) resulting in a superseding purpose:  A changed life.

Having put one’s self into the place of meeting these qualifications, a yielded body and a renewed mind (note:  you do not have to attend a seminar or receive a diploma to get to that place:  it can happen at any time through an act of your will as you surrender) then you are ready to realize what it is to be in the perfect will of God.  Verse two says that at that point you will by every word and every deed be proving (demonstrating) what is the will of God, and the will of God will be whatever is good and whatever is acceptable and whatever is perfect.  God is not going to speak to you audibly, nor will He leave a note under your pillow spelling out your every move for the day, but as you walk and work through every moment of every day, surrendered in body and being renewed in mind through His Word, whatever you do will be a living demonstration of God’s will for you:  “He will direct your paths.” (Provs. 3:5,6).  And you will be doing whatever is good, i.e. whatever God puts His approval on as revealed in His Word; and whatever is acceptable, acceptable to God, i.e. whatever is kind, loving, merciful, just, etc., and you will be doing whatever is perfect, i.e. whatever lends itself to your spiritual maturity (that is what the word “perfect” in the New Testament connotes):  mature, complete; and the person in God’s will does whatever is characteristic of maturity as a believer who is growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Now, put the simple, yet profound, Biblical formula to practice in your life.  Instead of wrestling with the question “How can I know God’s will?” or “Am I doing God’s will?” just set out each day by surrendering your body a living sacrifice, emptied of self and filled with God’s Spirit and be being renewed in your mind by spending time in God’s Word so that you will be transformed from glory to glory (more like Christ with each passing day and more conformed to His image) and then living, doing whatever is good (by the standard of His Word) and whatever is acceptable (to God) and whatever is perfect (enabling you to mature as a believer) and everything you do that day will be without question God’s perfect will for you.

And, my friend, my prayer and heart’s desire for you is that the “God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” will

Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.” (Hebs.13:21)

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