March 2, 2016
What Is God’s Will?
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. Romans 12:2
There are many times that we want to know the answer to the question, “What is God’s will?” It’s good to ask, for instance, when we are trying to decide between two equally acceptable alternatives, a direction to go, a life mate to choose, an amount to give, or a candidate to vote for in an election. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could hear directly from God like Moses and the prophets did?
The Good News for us is that God does reveal His will. The book of Hebrews opens, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (1:1-2a). John tells us that the Word of God (His Son)“became flesh” and lived among us. (1:14) This Jesus then told His apostles that He would send the Spirit of God to tell them what to teach the Church for ages to come, which is His New Testament.
In Romans 12, Paul teaches that the will of God is discernable as we live a life transformed by the Word of God working in our mind. We apply truths and standards from Scripture to each decision. Sometimes, the answer is not easily determined, and we must trust that God’s sanctifying Spirit, received in Holy Baptism and actively heard in the Word, will direct our thoughts and hearts. I like to call that “sanctified common sense”.
Tonight’s message on the petition, “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is heaven” will go into this further, but the bottom line is that God’s will is that we faithfully reflect His life in us. To that end, we resist the works of the devil and all temptations from inside and outside of us. This we cannot do on our own, but only by Christ living in us.
Living in God’s will is not about always making the right decisions, but about living by faith in Him who died to make us holy and lives to keep us faithful to the end. We will make some mistakes in discerning His will from time to time, but his ultimate will for us is that we continue to trust His grace to forgive us and keep us in the faith. Live joyfully, then, in His gracious will.
Pastor Tom Konz