30 Days in the Bible, Day 8: Romans 12:1-2
In order to serve the Lord, we have to know what He wants us to do. That may seem obvious, but there are many Christians who plunge into ministries that they think they ought to do without consideration for God’s will. They confuse their desire for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and assume God will bless whatever they do as long as they do it in His name.
While using the natural gifts and talents we have (after all, God gave them to us!), the Holy Spirit leads us to serve as He desires. This passage reminds us that serving the Lord is a sacrifice. We must give up claiming absolute control over our lives, and yield to the leading of the Spirit and the call of the Lord. Our goal in life should be to do the will of God, not to try to convince God that what we want to do is His will.
How can we know the will of God? This is a big question, one that has produced many books and sermons. Here in Romans 12:2, Paul tells us one way to prepare ourselves to discern the will of God. We need to change our mind- not just a casual adjustment of opinion, but a full alteration in the way we think. Our minds need to be “renewed,” a word that in Greek implies a change for the better. We need a better way of thinking about ourselves, others, the world, and God.
Before we come to Christ, we fit the pattern of our fallen world. We follow our sin nature willingly, seeking what we want and ignoring or openly rejecting the law of God. In this state of mind, we can’t offer God anything, and quite honestly we don’t want to. The world in all its fallenness looks just fine to us, and we’re content to fit in with everyone and everything else.
When we come to Jesus, our whole way of thinking needs to be “transformed,” fitting into a whole different pattern than we have followed in the past. Our thoughts and desires need to be molded by Christ, and led by the Holy Spirit. What God says now matters to us, and we begin to seek to be conformed to the new pattern of Jesus. We won’t always succeed, but we should see progress in becoming like Him as we go through our lives.
Once our minds are set on the Lord, we can start to discern His will for us. Through His Word and the teaching of the Spirit we see what “good and acceptable and perfect,” not just generally but for us specifically. We no longer will seek our own way, but use our new, God-centered minds to discover what the Lord wants us to do. Some of this will be obvious, since the Bible gives us many teachings we can apply directly to our lives. However, there will be aspects of God’s will for us that require us to spend time with Him in the Word and prayer, and to think carefully about what He is saying to us, before we can know the area of ministry to which He is calling us.
So change your mind! The world wants you to think one way, and to be just like everyone else. But God is calling you to be different, to put Him and His will first. Choosing the Lord’s way over the world’s way requires sacrifice, but knowing that communion with Him will make it all worthwhile.