“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).
The Apostle Paul admonishes the believers in Rome not to behave as the world behaves and allow God to change their lifestyle and their way of thinking. If they will obey Paul and follow through, then they will know and understand what the will of God in their lives.
Many of us believers have difficulties of knowing and understanding what the will of God in our lives. One of the reasons is we mixed the “general will” and the “specific will” of God in the same bucket.
You need to understand that the general will of God is everything that the Lord Jesus has accomplished on the cross. They are done by Christ and ready for anyone to receive them such as the salvation for our souls, healing of our bodies, baptism in the Holy Ghost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ministry gifts for the Church, the prosperity of spirit, soul and body, the rapture, the sanctification, edification, justification, holiness, the judgment seat of Christ, and the answered prayer that is according to His will.
The specific will of God are those details in our daily walk in life such as the kind of work we employ, the location on earth we are to live, our calling in the ministry (when, where and what), the school we are to enroll, the person we want to marry and when, people who will become our business partners, places in the world we wanted to go or visit and when, and other details that the Bible has no mention about.
The bottom line is that God’s will for your life is good, pleasing and perfect. Either general or specific will of God, God wants you to enjoy life to the fullest. It is the gift from God. The following scriptures will tell you that it is the will of God for you to enjoy life:
• “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10b NLT).
• Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT).
• “But those who drink the water I give will never thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:14 NLT).
• “And his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3a NLT).
• “… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
• “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give you good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11 NLT).
Even before creation, it is God’s intention to give us a prosperous and a blessed life. And that kind of life can only be found in Christ Jesus. Although there are pain and sufferings in this world, they are not God’s plan for you. Let us be honest for a moment here, pain and sufferings are not good and they are not pleasing for they give you hardships, frustrations, at times they cause you to be lonely and feeling abandoned. However, there are people in your life who lie about this truth. In order to appease you, people may console you that it is God’s will for you to suffer from bad situations in life. It is human nature that when bad things come and they could not explain it why, they resort to invoking God that He has something to do with it.
Of course there are scriptures that also tell us that we have to suffer for Christ. A specific scripture was a statement made by Jesus that we have to carry our own cross and follow Him. But that kind of suffering is far different from being subjected to sickness, disease, and lack. Suffering for Christ means to stand firm in your faith when someone points a gun in your head and ready to blast your brains out if you refuse to deny Christ. Now that was the kind of sufferings the New Testament was talking about.
At the early age of Christianity believers were engaged in defending their faith. There were persecutions to the point of killing these believers for following Christ. They burned them alive. They feed them to lions. Some were crucified. They put them in prisons and tortured them. There was too much resistance from the devil and the forces of darkness were in full force just to stop the Gospel of Christ. The early believers were suffering for the Gospel’s sake. I remember back then when someone shot me with a hand gun because I was preaching the Gospel of Christ. Praise God I was not hit and I’m still preaching His Word. I have to suffer from the persecutions of the devil that wanted me killed because of the ministry.
• “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17 NKJ).
If the people of Israel in the Old Testament lived their lives in prosperity, peace, might and being feared by other kingdoms because they followed and obeyed God, how much more are we when we have a better covenant with God than the Old Testament covenant?
The will of God can be known because the Bible tells us so. This is what the apostle Paul has said that we are able to know and understand the will of God in our lives. But there are conditions to meet.
First condition, do not copy the behavior and customs of this world. In short, do not compromise. This is leadership at the utmost. Stand up and be recognized for defending the Word of God or I should say the principles of God. This is difficult especially for those who work for businesses where twisting and tweaking the truth for gain is OK. You need to boldly say no to any temptations and expect that your actions will create waves in the office.
This is also a call for your integrity, honesty and good conscience to be tested at all costs. Integrity is the motive of your heart. Integrity must render answers to the following motives of your heart. Why am I doing this? Am I telling the truth by giving half of the required information to my boss, partner, friend, or spouse? Am I hiding important stuffs that warrant disclosure? Am I doing this for selfish ambition? Is my action a subtle manipulation of friends, partners, relatives, spouse and others in order for me to gain? Am I setting up others for failure?
God will reveal every motives of the heart. It’s either in public or in private. To overcome the temptations to fail in integrity, the best solution is to be honest. Honesty is simply humbling yourself before God. When you humble yourself before Him, he will exalt you in due time. He will never put you to shame.
Second condition is allowing God to change you to a new person. You can only be as your inner man is. You cannot fake the condition of your inner man, because whatever is in your heart it will come out, either by your actions or by your words. If you are immature in Christ, the Body of Christ will able to discern it. Just like your physical body, if you have pain in your thumb, it will surely affect your whole body. You can feel the pain.
Therefore, let God’s mercy and grace work with you. Allow Him to teach you through His word, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Humble yourself to His guidance as He leads you to His will. You need to be patient and faithful in waiting upon the Lord. Growing in the faith takes time. There is no short cut to growth. The seed in your heart will see seasons after seasons before it bears fruits. There are many things to learn especially if God is preparing you for His ministry.
Moses spent at least 40 years in the wilderness prior to become the leader of God’s people. And he spent another 40 years of leadership in the same wilderness. The same is true with Joshua, with Isaac, with Jacob, with David, and with Paul. These men of God have learned to know God’s will in their lives because they know how to humble themselves.
God will reveal even His specific will for you if you can only humble yourself and allow Him to work you out into maturity in faith.