Here’s an easy one for you. A friend of mine recently asked me about a major life decision for her family. The problem is that there really are no easy decisions, period.
By the way, if you end a sentence with the word ‘period’ follow by the punctuation mark also named as such, is that officially redundant?
OK, there may be a few easy decisions out there, but they are never about major things.
Where are we going to eat tonight?
Does this dress make me look fat?
What’s on TV?
These are all questions that we either already have the answers to, or really don’t need the answers to.
But, the major decisions of life; the big ones that come along about jobs, love, life, kids, money and all that other high stress stuff, those decisions are never big fat slow softball pitches over the middle.
Those decisions are always tough ones. Why couldn’t the choices be more like these:
- I could stay at this job that I hate, or move to my dream position for three times the cash and the beach house…hmmm
- I could stay single and searching, or I could marry this drop dead gorgeous supermodel with the morals of Mother Theresa who keeps throwing herself at me… hmmm
- I could continue to wander spiritually wondering what to do with my life, or I could open up this glowing letter with the return address marked Heaven that has been floating in my living room for the last month… hmmm
Don’t you wish all life’s major decisions were just that easy?
The issue at stake here is what is God’s will for the average human being? Many a book has been written and many a conference has been given to try and answer that question, but the answer still seems to be so elusive for many of us.
Honestly, figuring out God’s will is really not that difficult. Simply take a lock of your hair, put it in a Ziploc baggie with 3 Christian 3 CDs (one of them hymns only please), bury the baggie under the noonday sun near any sign announcing the future home of some church. Then go wait for an email forward from eight of your friends that say if you don’t pass this along you don’t love Jesus.
The sixth one is God’s will for your life.
That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.
Obviously, there is no ritualistic, voo doo way to figure out God’s will. And, there is some frustration in wondering why it is so hard for us to know specifically what He wants for us. Here are a few of over-arching thoughts about the will of God.
Some of God’s will we already now.
Yes it is true, I can tell you God’s will for your life. God wants you to accept Jesus. God wants you to not murder. God wants you to not commit adultery. God wants you to stop lying. You see, there are some universal principles found in God’s word that we already know are His will for our lives. Any internal debates we have about His will for us will not conflict with the will He has already outlined for us in the Bible. For example, it is not God’s will for you to leave your wife and marry that other woman becomes her hotness makes you happy, and you are sure that it is God’s will for you to be happy. Nope, if that is your definition of happy then God definitely does not want you to be happy. Why? That thought already conflicts with the pre-established, preordained, prewritten will of God. Nice try.Sometimes we know what He wants, but we want something else.
Often we know God’s will, but struggle to accept it because we are afraid of the cost, unsure of the duration, desire more clarity, or just flat out disagree with His choice. We need to quit lying to ourselves and just honestly embrace our fears, rebellion and/or confusion so that we can let God’s will become our will. Whether we are openly rebelling against God and just don’t want to follow where He is leading us, or we are dumbfounded that the Creator of the universe would want to bless and use us, we need to acknowledge that God’s will is God’s will and it needs to be done in our lives.Sometimes we make it much harder than it actually is.
I haven’t been inside my house for years. You want to know why? Every time I go home the door is closed, bummer. I know what you are thinking, but it’s not that easy. The way I believe things is that if God wanted me inside that house, He would open the door… Do the previous couple of sentences sound as stupid to you as they do to me? Hopefully! Yet, this is the number one way people try to establish God’s will for their lives. If the door is open then God wants me to go through it, and if it’s closed then I am to stay out. You know, reading my Bible has revealed that Satan can open and close doors, too. Making every element of our lives a spiritual circumstance in order to discern the will of God makes us some of the most spiritually superstitious people ever. Don’t get me wrong! We should discern the times, and our circumstances should weigh into our decision-making, but they should only be a factor, not the deciding voice of God.
All this discussion really makes me wish that there was some verse in the Bible that just said, “This is how you can now the will of God.”
Excuse me… What was that… There is a verse… Seriously… Well, why didn’t we just start right there?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 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. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ro 12:1-2). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Now don’t get all formulaic on me. This isn’t a 1-2-3 easy steps to knowing God’s will verse. Those do not exist.
However, within this teaching I believe we can see the principles for aligning our lives with the will of God, and seeing His will for our life.
So, here is what we already know:
- God’s word is His will for us that won’t be violated by anything new we hear from Him
- Often we already know His will, but need to come to grips with our own fears and desires so that we can’t accept what He has said
- Knowing God’s will is not a game of cat and mouse. He is not hiding anything, and we are not Indiana Jones wannabes. It’s not that hard.
With these foundations in mind, this verse gives us some core values to live by when trying to make sure we see God’s will for our individual lives.
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices
– When your daily life is an offering into God there is very little confusion as to your motivations and intentions. However, when most of our lives are directed to the altars of ‘me/myself and I’ our direction, desires and disciplines are in question. This verse indicates that it is essential that we live a lifestyle of daily sacrificing ourselves to God if we are to really know His will. Most of the time we’re trying to find out what is God’s will for OUR lives. But, what we should really be seeking is what is GOD’S will for our lives. Most of us seek God’s will for our lives in a vain attempt to get God to line up with us, but this is entirely wrong. Knowing God’s will is an exercise in us finding out where God is, and joining Him there.Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world
– Breaking free from the patterns, norms and standards of the culture in which we are currently swimming is essential to knowing God’s will. Why? The short answer: this world is broke and usually wrong. Since God is almost always going to deviate from the normal patterns of this world, conforming to it is only going to bring confusion and pain, therefore it will be much easier to see and even know God’s will if your not running in the maze looking for the same cheese everyone else is. In its simplest forms some of the world’s habits, entertainments, hobbies and interests have to be abandoned by those who really want to know the will of God.Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
– This is where it gets ultra spiritual. The word transformed here actually connects with our English word metamorphosis. As we live a life of daily sacrifice to God and we begin to break the habitual patterns taking us away from His will, a transformation begins in our mind that is nothing less than a metamorphosis. A complete change from one thing to another. You may think I could never be that kind of person. You may have thought I could never do what they do. You may have quietly whispered that kind of life would never be for a person like me. But, you’d be wrong. You’d be missing the metamorphosis.
This metamorphosis is a legitimate process that God offers to anyone who is willing to lay their lives down for Him. Although I have far to go and still struggle with many failings I am thrilled with what God has been able to do in my heart and life so far. And, I know others have been startled by my metamorphosis as well.
When we first moved to Hutchinson six years ago the church put a big banner on the side of our building that said, “Westbrook Welcome’s Pastor Andy Addis and his family”
It was a banner that we were planning on leaving up for only a couple of weeks, but ended up staying on our building for almost three months. We kept it up there because week after week people kept coming and wondering, “Is this the Andy Addis from Great Bend? He’s a pastor? Are you sure? Can I see him?”
But let’s not lose sight of the end game result. What is the purpose of this metamorphosis?
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God’s will for your life is God’s will. The question is will your will for your life become God’s will.
Many blessings for you my friends, and I hope this was hopeful.