Lately, I wonder so much — what is God’s will for me, and for Ken and me, in the coming years? Should I get a job? Am I using my time and talents as I should? How should we invest money and prepare for retirement? How much should we help the poor? It seems so hard to discern what is best. Sometimes I wish He would just pick me up and carry me in a direction with the force of His will, not have me choose.
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I J 2:7)
That is the verse I was looking for when I wrote yesterday’s blog! I just found it! All powers built on man will cease, but the one who seeks to be humble and do the will of God will endure.
Today I came across some notes from Doug Jacoby’s lesson on the will of God. This verse was his conclusion:
Do not conform any longer 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.” (Rom 12:1)
Do not conform – Do not fashion ourselves after the model that is the world. Do not let myself be molded into the world’s image. For instance, last night when I went to a class on social media I wanted to look like the world’s definition of success — dressed a certain way, having the trappings of technology. As far as the will of God goes, if my mindset is to conform with the world, I am not thinking along the lines of God, and I won’t be able to understand or discern His will.
But be transformed by the renewing of your mind — I have been thinking a lot lately about how many versions of Christianity today teach that you just need to believe, and love God, without completely leaving your old life behind. And then because people haven’t completely left their old life, they fall back into some of the same sins, or continue the sins they never gave up. Then they experience all kinds of grief, and cause grief to others. Christianity is ineffective to them. This passage about renewing your mind reinforces that you have to leave your old life behind. You have to think new thoughts in your mind. As it says in Colossians, “Set your minds on things above.” Or in Romans 8, “Those who have their minds set on the Spirit
I will not be able to discern God’s will without pushing aside in my head all of the thoughts that reflect worldly thinking — “I need to be successful,” “I need to look good” “What will people think of me?” “I am a failure if I don’t…” Each one of these thoughts pollute my thinking. How can I know what God’s will is when all of these thoughts pull at my mind?
So Doug stressed that we need to read the Bible to renew our minds. For me the key to this is remembering the scriptures throughout the day, recalling my quiet time, thinking of verses as situations arise. This puts me more in line with God’s mindset. It steers me away from the worldly tracks of thinking, and creates new paths of thinking for me.
In this new year, one of my main goals is to start each day with the remembrance of the cross, and how I am just someone who was stuck in the slimy pit of my own making, and Jesus came and rescued me. This powerfully renews my mind. When I think of pleasing God, making Him smile, it renews my mind. When I remember to love, it renews my mind. When I reflect on the nature of God it renews my mind, that he is love, joy, peace, patience and all the fruits of the Spirit. That He is righteous and trustworthy.
Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will — Then I will see whether something has the aura of God around it. I will see with different eyes, eyes that can discern.
For I will then restore pure speech to the peoples so that all of them may call on the name of Yahweh and serve Him with a single purpose (Zeph 3:9)
It has always been God’s will that we will be holy, a people set apart as His own. It has been His will that we will be unified. We are to have undivided hearts, “I will give them singleness of heart and action.” (Jer 32:39) We are to be sincere.
God’s plan was to purify people from their crassness, selfishness, greed, independence. I want to know if I should get a job, or invest money. God may work through all of that, but ultimately He wants me to be more holy. That is His will.
And His will is that all men would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. This earth is only a proving ground. We are only here for a short time. His will is that we are the yeast of love in the world. His will is that we let our light shine, doing good deeds. His will is that we be thankful, joyful and pray always. (I Thes 5)
There is much more to understand here.