Over the last several weeks we discussed some of the primary purposes behind why we should invest our time reading God’s Word. We looked at the fact that it is through God’s revelation that we can know who God is, as well as recognizing that it is also through His Word that we can know our true identity. But, another purpose of the Bible is to enable us to know God’s will; an area if we are honest is a bit confusing for most of us.
Many of us wrestle with the idea of knowing the will of God for our lives; becoming so paralyzed with fear of doing something counter to God’s will that we ironically end up doing nothing at all. It has been jokingly and tragically observed that many of us are guilty of desperately praying to God and seeking His will for our life, while our Bible remains unopened on the table sitting next to us. What we are failing to recognize is that God has already spoken to us through His Word, and we need to allow it to constantly be washing and renewing our minds so we can be good stewards of everything He has given us.
“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)
Often, we get caught up in seeking some type of mystical experience in order to understand what is the will of God. When this doesn’t happen, most of us will run back to our own culture and the “pattern of this world” to determine for us the best course we should take. But God reveals in His Word that He desires our lives to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we may discern what is pleasing to Him. For the Believer, this is absolutely vital, because the more we expose ourselves to God’s Word and allow it to renew our mind, the more it impacts the way we live our lives so we are able to discern what choices would be most God honoring. The Bible does not include explicit passages on who we are to marry, what car to buy, or what job to take; but the more the Spirit changes us through His Word, we will be able to make those decisions to the glory of God because we will be so saturated in God’s truth it cannot help but spill out of us into every choice we make.
Perhaps, a helpful example is found in the way we raise our own children. Are we happier when we have to ask our child to take out the trash, or when they do it themselves without any prompting from us? Would we rather have to ask our child to put his plate in the sink after dinner, or have them simply do it themselves and maybe even go the extra mile and start washing the dishes? We should try to cultivate our relationship with our children in such a way, that even when we are not present, or cannot give input, they will still know what is pleasing to mom and dad. The same should be true for us as Christians and how we relate to our heavenly Father. When we know the character of God as He as revealed through His Word, then we can discern who we should marry, or what car we should purchase. Recognizing at the same time that many of our decisions also come down to preference, and it is not that one choice is right and the other is wrong. But, first, we must begin by asking ourselves what would be most pleasing to God.
Changed by Truth
Nearing the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). The Bible is God’s perfect source of truth to us, and the Spirit works through it to transform the lives of His people so that they become more and more like Christ. If we want to know the will of God for how we are to relate to Him, the way we live with one another, and the way we are to view the world itself, then we need to be saturating ourselves in the truth God has given to us. It has been said the primary purpose of our life is to bring glory to God, and enjoy Him forever, and the way we learn how to do that is through His Word.
Wherever you are in the Bible this week, begin by asking what that section of Scripture reveals about God and His character. Then look for what it also reveals about humanity and by extension, yourself. Finally, examine the text and see what it reveals about God’s will for the life of His people and ask how that applies in your own life.