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. 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.” – Romans 12:1, 2
Without a doubt, the greatest thing I get asked about as a pastor is something along the lines of, “How do I know God’s will for my life?” It’s a fair question. And it’s one that I’ve wrestled with most of my life, also. People have often asked me stuff like the following:
- How did you know which college to go to?
- How did you know Tiffany was “the one”?
- How did you know God was calling you into ministry?
- How did you know God was leading you to start a church?
- How did you know God was sending you to California?
- How did you know you were suppose to wear that shirt? (ok, this one, less often.)
Well according to Heb. 11:1, “knowing” any of these things is a stretch at best. You cannot “know” for sure anything God calls you to accept on faith. But the bigger reality check is that, despite all of the mystery and wonder we put to knowing the specifics of God’s will, what God really wants for each of us, is very clearly spoken to us in His Word.
No, God didn’t answer any of the above questions for my life in the Bible. He gave me answers to more important issues than the details of His specific will for the “what” to do with my life. He gave me the divine ways for the “how” I should live my life.
In Romans 12, Paul tells us quite clearly -even begging us- to submit ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to God, and that doing so is both “holy” and “pleasing” to God. When we do this, we live in such complete submission to the ways of God, that we understand this is our “true and proper worship.”
He goes on to contrast this way of living a life of worship by telling us not to be conformed to the “pattern,” or ways, of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This “transforming” comes from our regular submission in our hearts to God’s ways.
But we want DETAILS! How do I find the answers to all these important life questions?!? Paul tells us that as we submit ourselves as living sacrifices to the ways of God, “then“ He will lead us into the perfect will of God. In other words, as I obey God in what He has revealed, He will guide me in what He has concealed.
God’s will is a subject too broad for me to understand in my own life, let alone explain it in yours. But what I do know is this: As I walk in God’s ways, I will always be in His will. That’s why Paul can tell us later in 1 Cor. 10:31, “whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If you want something for reasons that give God glory, go for it!
It still might not work out the way you think it will. But Romans 8:28 reassures us that, “All things work together for good, to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”
When we were first telling our kids that we were moving to San Jose to start a church, my little girl, Kali, asked, “I thought we were going to California?!” I had to explain to her, “When you’re in San Jose, you’re in California.” The same is true of God’s will – when you walk in God’s ways, you’ll always be in His will.
So what should you do with your life?! Whatever you want to,… as long as you are doing so out of a love for God and a desire to bring Him glory. He’s got the details of getting you to His will under control.