Romans 12:1-2 “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.”
Human instinct is to read this verse with the anticipation of knowing God’s will for your life. These verses offer a lot in leading you to God’s will, but probably not in the way you expect. These verses give you a stadium seat to God’s will. God’s will is not typically one mystical or divine insertion into your life, but rather opening your life to His work, leading, and transformation. As you continually submit greater portions of your life to God in sanctification (becoming like Christ), God will be freed to increasingly become more involved in your life.
This passage speaks of three “living goals” that will help you move into God’s will:
First, Lordship is fundamental to living in God’s will. Romans 12:1 provides a graphic description of Lordship: “Offering your body as a living sacrifice.” A living sacrifice willingly submits to God for His use and purpose. You submit to God’s ways, not just for His purposes, but also for God’s active work towards His purposes. You cannot get a seat in the stadium unless you have paid the price of admission – Lordship.
Second, be a living sacrifice. You are an active participant in God’s will. God desires your active participation in living the Christian life. Christians often approach God’s will like a slot machine where we pull the lever to watch His pleasing will lavished upon us. God calls us to live life with open eyes that are enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Three people passed by the wounded traveler in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Each probably had a noble cause to which they were hurrying to attend. Possibly the Levite was hurrying to attend worship and the priest to conduct the worship service; the traveler’s noble cause could have been anything, but he probably had an objective that was interrupted and delayed by the wounded traveler. Stopping for any of the three posed a sacrificial cost in terms of time, safety, money, and missed opportunity. We do not know what the cost would have been to each, but we do know that next to loving God we are to love our fellow man. The wounded traveler was not just someone to give a kind gesture, but one in desperate need of help. He was not a person at the synagogue they could ignore, but a struggling human. A living sacrifice is available to God for God’s use regardless of most circumstances. This trait is critical for doing God’s will.
Third, be transformed from your old way of life to God’s way of life: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means to wholeheartedly pursue God regardless of cost and without reservation. It means being one who is no longer formed by this world, but by God; one who is available for God’s sanctification no matter the cost; one who is servient to God even in normal routines; one whose pleasures are aligned with Scripture; one whose time is not a slave to self-gratification, but to God. This person does not just want God; but all of God!
All three “living goals” expose you to God’s will, “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” God’s will for us is to love God first and people next. Can your life in Christ take on another direction if you follow God in this way? This will probably happen as you follow where God is taking you in ministry through the opportunities that occur in your life. God will usually amplify your giftings when He uses you in ministry. God’s work in those areas of ministry will usually further perfect “His good, pleasing and perfect will” in your life. God’s will is actually pretty simple: Love God and love people. God will sculp His will in you as you learn to love Him in a passionate intimate relationship, and as you love others by becoming God’s hands, feet, and mouth in this world.
Ephesians 1:17-20 “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.”
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