Discerning God's Will

    

CHAPTER 4

The Desire to Please & to Glorify God

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom.12:1)

A total sacrifice is a sacrifice of not just the body alone but also the heart. It is a sacrifice that calls for all that you are, all that you have, and all that you are able to do. In other words, you offer your body as a living sacrifice, "holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" ( Rom. 12:1) .

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that which is good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). A Christian who truly sacrifices himself naturally does not conform to the world but will let his mind be renewed and transformed. The "renewing of the mind" that Paul mentioned is very vital. The word "mind" here means "thoughts." In other words, a Christian's thoughts must be renewed. As our thoughts become serene, spirit-controlled and free of futile concerns, we focus less on worldly matters and more on heavenly, spiritual matters and God's will (Col. 3:1-4; Rom. 8:5-7). The result is a mind that can discern what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is.

Let me ask young brothers and sisters a couple of questions: "Have you ever sought God's will regarding your marriage? Have you ever prayed about your college applications and your future field of specialty?" Some brothers and sisters have heard that the best-paid jobs are those of physicians and lawyers, and they simply opted for these fields without even seeking God's will - this is most regrettable for followers of the Lord. Similarly, instead of asking God whom they should marry, some women from China who seek marriage partners in the United States base their choices on three "P"s - Ph.D. (doctorate degree); Property (wealth); Permanent Residency (the right to live permanently in the United States) - the outcome may be entirely different from what God wills for them. During the fiery trials in China, several sisters did something quite different. Following the Lord's guidance, they married brothers imprisoned in Labor Camps, waiting some 10 to 20 years for their release. How could they do so? That is because they honored God and willingly lived in His will.

What about you, brothers and sisters? Let us live in this world with one goal, which is to please God and live in His will. Paul said that whatever we do, whether eat or drink, we should do it in a way that glorifies God. This is a principle of Christian living that every follower of the Lord must observe and practice. Take spending, for instance: On buying a watch, should you buy one studded with diamonds? You may be able to afford it, but will it bring glory to God? If you spend a good deal of time in front of the computer and television and feel this is a God-glorifying act, you may continue with it - but please note: most programs are tainted with Satan's influence. If, however, you come to realize that such acts do not glorify God, then you should immediately put a stop to them. Our principle for daily living is to please God in all that we do (II Cor. 5:9; Eph. 5:10; John 8:29).

The Bible clearly tells us what we should do, such as loving and forgiving others. On matters not particularly mentioned in the Bible, such as smoking and watching television, we should submit to the teaching of the Holy Spirit in order to glorify God. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Col. 3:17).

Can you say what you do is done in the name of the Lord Jesus? Can you give God the credit for what you do? If your answers are negative, then do not do it. If you have never before followed the Lord in this manner, may I then urge you, with a reverent heart before the Lord, to begin doing so today - otherwise, your life and service will have no eternal value and will not withstand the fire when you see the Lord. This is an extremely solemn matter.

If we live in the will of God, then we shall be joyful when we see the Lord's face. The apostle Paul said before his martyrdom: "the time is here." Dear brothers and sisters, the time is already here when many people "will not endure sound doctrine according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables" (II Tim. 4:3,4).

The Church today is in a desolate, chaotic, and dreary spiritual state. May the Lord have mercy on us that we may, by His grace, be unshakable and unyielding as we walk in His good, acceptable, and perfect will.