As we continue our series on how Christians find the will of God, we now come to the first of three steps outlined in our focus scripture. In Romans 12:2, the Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In order to discern what God’s will is, Paul starts off by first telling us about what we are NOT to do. Beginning in verse two, Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world...” What Paul is communicating here is that we are not to conform ourselves to the way the world thinks, believes, or acts. The picture here is the idea of being "pressed into the mold". It’s the same concept as if you were observing child that is playing with play-doh and is using a mold to create their favorite animal. The more the child presses the play-doh into the mold, the more the play-doh takes the shape of the mold. In the same way, we since birth have been pressed into the mold of the world and now Paul is telling us that in order to find God’s will for our lives, we must first refuse to be conformed to the world. The word "world" there means "the spirit of the age". The “spirit of the age” is anything that demonstrates an action, thought, or belief that is anti-God in nature. We see this almost everywhere – in our schools, on television, in movies, carnal churches, and even in some Christian-themed events. We are bombarded with the spirit of the age and as a result, apart from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are left with a warped sense of ourselves, God, and the world around us. As such, in order to correctly discern what God’s will is, we must first refuse to conform to the patterns of the spirit of the age.
So how do we do this? First, we must know what is biblical and know what is not (2 Timothy 2:15). Since birth, the spirit of the age has taught us all what is good, what is acceptable, and what is perfect, and now that we have come to Christ, it is not as if we lose all of that baggage on day one. In all honesty, we do not have a right assessment of those things (Jeremiah 17:9). You can't trust yourself, and sanctification is the process by which God begins the work of changing that. In the meantime, we must rely thoroughly on Scripture to educate us on what is right and what is biblical. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for EVERY good work.” If we are to find the good work that God has for us to do, and if we are to conform our ways to His, we must study, meditate, apply, and rely on the word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Second, we must cling to the safety and security that is only found in Christ. Our battle is spiritual and we need God to fight our battles for us (2 Corinthians 10:4-6, Colossians 2:6-15, Ephesians 6:10-18) Simply put, finding God’s will is all the work of the Holy Spirit who will guide you(John 16:13). This blog is not a call to duty or legalism, but to passion. Commit to spending time with God and His word, and God will do the rest.
In my experiences, many Christians have strayed away from this approach. Rather than a careful study and examining of Scripture, they rely on feelings and inner peace to confirm a decision and “feel” their way to God’s will. Unfortunately, this is more in line with pagan tradition rather than a biblical worldview. My prayer for you as we work our way through Romans 12:2 is that you first learn what the Bible has to say concerning the decisions and directions you take, and that you learn to recognize counterfeits which are often appetizing to the sight, but in the end can lead you astray. God Bless you.
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