Today I've been spending a lot of time contemplating the will of God. I think it's because there are a lot of questions our church is facing regarding how God wants us to continue to minister to the community now that our market has closed. So all of the wondering, and talking and praying over what God might have for us has left me pondering God's will and how we know what He wants us to do.
This pondering led me to one of my favorite passages, Romans 12:1-2, which tell us, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
In this passage we find what's called a “conditional promise”. The promise is that we can know what the perfect will of God is for our lives. The conditions are that we must first of all present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, and we must not be conformed to this world. We need to pay close attention to the order of things that God lays out for us in this passage: first, we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, and then we will know the will of God. It's important to get this right because, often we tend to want to know God's will first, before we decide whether or not we want to give ourselves over to it.
It's like what happened at our house recently as I was making dinner and my son walked in the kitchen. I asked him if he was hungry and his response was, “What are you cooking?”. And of course he asked that because, if I was making “veggie delight”, then he wasn't hungry. But if I was serving up “gummy bears on a stick”, then he was starving.
Unfortunately, that's often how we tend to approach God's will. We say to God, “Lord, what's Your will? Because, before I'm going to surrender to it, I'd like to know exactly what it is I'm getting myself into.” But Romans 12 reminds us that our surrender to God must come before we can know the will of God. So the formula is simple - if we want to know the will of God, then we must have a heart that's fully surrendered. I think God set it up this way because He knows that if our hearts are fully surrendered to Him, then our will is going to be surrendered as well. Which means that when He does reveal His will to us, we'll be open to following, no matter where He leads.
This is important for us to grab hold of, because following God's will is one of the primary things we should be committed to as believers. And if that’s the case, then following this formula is essential in our daily lives. So today, pray with me that we will each be willing to surrender ourselves fully to God, and in doing so, make ourselves open to whatever His will is for our lives.