God's Will - Your Sanctification
Anyone who takes the Christian faith seriously will naturally ask: "How can I know the will of God?" "How can I find out what God wants me to do?" "Who is it that God intends for me to marry?" "What kind of business does God want me to be in?" "What line of work should I pursue?" "Where should I live?" But, before we can get an answer, we need to look at the question. It is significant to note how the question of knowing God's will is often framed. Many people think the problem of finding the will of God can be reduced to a matter of guidance. In other words, "How will God indicate his choice to me?" "What are the signs to look for so I can pick between two or three options and know which is right?" "How much do circumstances around me enter into the picture?" "How much am I to be led by the external things that happen to me?" "Are they a sign?" "Are my feelings and emotions being given as impressions from God to help steer my decision-making?" Sadly, if we approach the problem this way, we will never find a satisfying answer. We start out on the wrong foot when we come at the question that way. Why? – Because the will of God is not a system, a program, or a matter of "laying out a fleece" like Gideon. No. The key to knowing God's will is in a relationship. A relationship that acknowledges who we are and who God is. It's not primarily a question of guidance; it is a question of acceptance. It is a question of accepting the reality of our self-deceiving sinful nature and acknowledging God's utter Holiness and his Sovereign Rule. God's will is knowable and provable. We don't need a "fresh word" or "private revelation;" to discover it; all we need is the Bible, the inspired word of God. The great theologian John Owen said, "... if anyone's 'private revelations' agree with scripture, they are needless, and if they disagree, they are false." As Christians, we need to stop looking for signs and grasping for impressions and instead feed on the word "that was once for all delivered to the saints." It is why Romans 12:2 admonishes, "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." This passage gives us an important sequence: the child of God refuses to be conformed to the world and instead allows themselves to become transformed by the Holy Spirit; as our minds are renewed according to the things of God, then we can know God's perfect will for any situation - it's not a secret.