I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begged God to give me a clear sign so I’d know His perfect will for my life–you know, something really Biblical, like a message written across the sky, with fireworks exploding around it. But when I gaze up into the vast blue beauty, all I see is a white puffy cloud that looks like a hamburger. Am I supposed to give up this writing and speaking thing and work at McDonald’s?
The truth is, if God has gifted us with talents and passions, He plans for us to use them for His glory. Once we understand that truth, the dilemma then becomes, “If He’s gifted me for these things, how do I know what He wants me to do now?”
His answer to you and me is in 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.
Did you get that? If we want to know his good and pleasing and perfect will for our lives, we have to do three things:
- Offer our bodies as living sacrifices. In contrast to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, God wants us. He wants our bodies, our lives. He wants us to put away our own desires and plans and goals, and give them all up for what He has planned for us. Do you want to write a bestseller or be an A-list speaker? Yep, me too. But what if God merely wants me to write and speak and share my work with my church? Would that be enough for me? Would it be enough for you? Sacrificing our desires for His is our spiritual act of worship.
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world. I know sin has been here since the fall, but with the advent of technology, it’s more readily available and thrown into our faces (and the faces of our precious children) as never before. The world says it’s okay. It says everybody’s doing it. It awards recognition and insidiously enters our homes through generally accepted, generally approved sources–like bestseller books, blockbuster movies, and popular magazines. And yet, I Thessalonians 4:7 tells us that God has not called us to live impure lives, but to live at a higher standard than the world. Whose standard are we living up to?
- Be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Years ago, soon after I realized I didn’t really know beans about writing for publication, I attended Marlene Bagnull’s Write His Answer seminar in Franklin, NC. I remember driving up the mountain, begging God to let me get published. Less than 24 hours later, I came down the mountain promising God I would write, whether I was ever published or not. For the first time, I saw this passion for writing and speaking as a calling on my life, rather than a frivolous self-indulgence. It was no longer about me and my desire for publication. It was about Him and His plan for my life. My mind had been transformed.
I want to know His will for my life, but what He has for me to do today may be totally different from what He has planned for me to do next year. But I can know this: If I want to know His good and pleasing and perfect will for my life, He will show me. All I have to do is be obedient. I have to offer my body as a living sacrifice, avoid conforming to the pattern of this world, and be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
If I do—if you do—it’ll be a joy to see what He has for us to do next!
Grace and peace,
(Photo courtesy of Bob Spalding Photography)