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.
My boys are as different as night and day. As children, one was compliant and the other was strong-willed. I love both of them equally, but motivating and teaching them requires differing approaches. What worked for one didn’t work for the other.
The same can be said of God’s children. Some of us are compliant; strive to follow his commands, apply spiritual principles to our lives, and lead a disciplined walk with God. Yet others among us live out our Christianity like fish swimming upstream. We’re strong-willed and stubborn, more dependent upon self-will than God’s will. But God loves us equally and customizes our teaching and motivation according to our unique needs.
In our focus text we learn that God’s will is “good, pleasing and perfect…” God’s will is infinitely better than self-will. Our will is not always good, sometimes displeasing, and seldom perfect. Yet, for some of us, we’re dogged determined to have life our way.
I’ve never cared much for instruction manuals. Consequently, many of my purchases have been assembled with parts left over. Some things turned out crooked, or they malfunctioned. That’s when I picked up the book to find out what went wrong, which is precisely the way many Christians go through life. We do it our way, get ourselves into trouble, and then turn to God’s word to find a solution.
Paul warns against following the “pattern of this world,” but that’s what we do. We trust in people and things for fulfillment rather than God. We buy in to man’s philosophies and ideologies and then try to mix them with God’s doctrines. We stubbornly care more about pleasing others than pleasing God.
Two years ago, I went on a nutritarian diet with GBOMBS. I know. What is that? That means eating the most powerfully nutritional foods on the planet. G=greens. B=beans. O=onions. M=mushrooms. B=berries. And S=seeds. There’s more to the diet than that, but you get the general idea. I followed the diet meticulously for a year, lost 70 pounds and felt healthier than I had in my adult life. But there was one banned element on the diet I refused to give up. I had to have my coffee.
We’re like that with Christianity. Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” But some things we’re unwilling to give up.
Our will often supersedes God’s will. Yet Paul wants us to know we’re missing out when we place a higher value on the pattern of this world than on the things of God. You may think your will and your way is better, but God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect.
The key is renewing the mind so we can test and approve the perfection of God’s will. That means we need to get rid of the old stinking thinking in which we have convinced ourselves that our ways are better than God’s ways.
Get your head and heart into God’s word. Accept and apply what you learn. Fervently desire his will, “Not my will but Your will.” When you read God’s promises, take Him at His word. Believe it. Put it to the test. “… test and approve what God’s will is…”
The first sermon I preached was based on Romans 12:2. That was about thirty years ago. Since then, I’ve had countless opportunities to test and approve His will. And I can say with all confidence that without fail, God’s will is just as He says, “good, pleasing, and perfect.”
Strong-willed or compliant. Early or late in life. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to experience the better life He has in store for you. If you haven’t already begun, start taking Him at His word today.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Learn God’s Will for Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.