How to know God's will for your life - What guidance does the Bible give me?
Romans 12:1-2 tells us the steps of how to know God's will for your life: "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 very first verse in this passage tells us we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. A sacrifice was a very common part of worship among the Old Testament Israelites. Sacrifices were offered to God for a variety of reasons, but the sacrifice must contain blood. Is it any wonder, then, that the ultimate sacrifice which was Jesus on the cross, would naturally shed blood for the atonement of sins? Because He offered His body as a sacrificial offering for the reconciliation between God and the children of God, we too should offer our bodies as a sacrifice. He showered His mercy upon us by giving us His Son.
There is no better sacrifice than for us to offer ourselves to God. This includes surrendering our lives, both spiritual and physical, to Almighty God, who is Creator over us all. Hebrews 13:21 says that Jesus will "equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Next, we are NOT to conform to the pattern of this world. The dictionary defines conform as "to be in agreement or accord." That means we must turn our backs on what the world may offer us that is not in accordance with the Word of God, especially if the world is condoning blatant sin which God would not want us to participate in. And, we should be transformed which means to change the nature, function, or condition of, by the renewing of our minds. When something is renewed, we bring it into being, we restore, regain, or replenish.
When we have done all of this, the Scripture says we will be able to test and approve what God's will is. We will know His good, pleasing, and perfect will. His perfect will is what He ordains for our lives, but if we miss the mark on His perfect will, He does not throw us away as misfits. Rather, if we choose his pleasing will, we are making the second choice God will condone. The last choice is pleasing to God. He would rather His perfect will be established, but because of His abundant love for us, we are still loved and desired as His children.
To reiterate, the steps to know God's will for your life from the Romans 12:1-2 are: surrendering our lives, not conforming to what the world offers; and renewal of our minds so we will be transformed.
To renew our minds, we study God's Word to know Him better, to learn His laws and precepts. We are then transformed into being more Christ-like.
Not conforming to the world is not easy especially since we are raised in the world, and there is so much pressure from family, friends, etc., to live life as they live it. It takes prayer and perseverance to turn our backs on the world when we know it is wrong. We must love God with all our heart, soul, and mind in order to make that change.
Surrendering is not easily attained because surrender means to give up control. Many of us feel we have lost ourselves if we give up control. Yet, the Word says in Matthew 10:39, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." It is best to ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you.
Also, another way to know God's will for your life is to listen to that still small voice inside of you. The burden of the call upon your life will outweigh your ambitions which you have established. If the Lord wants you to do a specific work for Him, He will give you a burden for that work. Your heart will keep drawing you to that specific task or work. As the day draws closer for you to accomplish and know God's will for your life, your burden will become heavier to accomplish it. If you run away from God's will, you will always go back because the burden will not go away. The burden also has love attached. And, of course, when we pray for His will to be made known in our lives, He will tell us. As Psalm 143:10 says, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
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