March 13, 2019·Lisa Bolar
I love how The Passion translation puts Romans 12:1-2: “I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship…Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.”
There’s so much truth crammed into this section of Romans, it’s easy to miss this little phrase: “to discern God’s will.” But that’s quite a statement! We can discern God’s will. Wouldn’t it be a comforting thing to know you’re truly fulfilling God’s purpose for your life?
In the social media era we live in, it’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to others and feel discouraged, wondering if we’re on the right track in life. Watching the success of others, in their careers, achievements, and family life, can make us question if we’re really making the most of our own time here on earth. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the life-affecting decisions in our lives, big and small, and the fear of regret in making the wrong choices.
But I have REALLY encouraging news for you. God wants to help us and guide us in the ways we should go. In fact, He promises to do it. So how do we walk in this kind of guidance and direction from the Lord, so we know we’re not “missing” our life’s purpose? Let’s go back and look at those couple of verses in Romans.
Surrender Yourselves As Living Sacrifices…
Paul starts off with some intense imagery. A sacrifice, by definition, is death as a means of worship, but he’s telling us to live in this state of sacrifice? A living sacrifice is a perpetual offering. In other words, everything we do in our daily lives, from the mundane to the exciting, is an opportunity to bring worship to Jesus. True, there is death involved. The death of our will. But positioning ourselves to be at the mercy of His will is absolutely the best life we can live. And this doesn’t mean running off to China to be a missionary (okay, there’s a chance it might), but… I’ve found that applying this to exactly where you are today, right now, is incredibly powerful. The dishes you’re washing… the email you’re writing… how you speak to your family members… interactions with a difficult person at the office…
When viewed as opportunities to worship, these everyday activities start to look very different, and God uses these points of surrender in the little things to shape His big-picture purposes in our lives.
Don’t Be Conformed To The World…
Jesus wants us to be free from the burden of the world’s obsessions with success, fame, wealth, worry and anxiety over all those things. God is faithful to help us stay on course, His course for our lives. All of those things, unless they are the outflow of our relationship with Jesus, are guaranteed to be a big fat disappointment to us anyway. But, He makes an amazing promise to us… If our highest aim is to do what Jesus asks, in whatever environment we’re in right now, He says everything else we need will be added to us.
Another way God calls us into a deeper discernment of His will is by the transformation of our minds through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Many of us want some kind of miraculous sign from God every time we make a choice in our lives. And I speak from experience when I say, sometimes He absolutely does do that!
God’s Word has very clear answers when it comes to many of life’s big questions and the way we should live, but what about the choices we all have to make that aren’t specifically covered in the Bible? Like, “Who should I marry?” “Should I buy a home?” “Public or private school for my kids?” “What career should I pursue?” “What kind of skincare should I be doing every day?” (Actually, I think that’s covered in your reading from Leviticus this week. ;)) Those exact answers may not be written out in the fine print, but something amazing happens when you regularly soak your mind in God’s Word and spend real time there every day, savoring it, studying it, praying through it, and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you and transform you from the inside out. Your thought patterns actually begin to change and align more and more with God’s will for your life.
Ultimately, we get to know His will for us by getting to know Him better. The closer we get to Jesus, as we follow in His footsteps, surrender our will to Him, and cling to His words spoken to us, the more we’ll be able to follow where He’s leading.
Be encouraged today with the truth that you haven’t “missed it” in your life. God is faithful to complete what He starts in us. We don’t have to be afraid of what our future holds or messing up His plan for our lives. Let Him worry about the plan… Surrender your heart, your mind, your body, and your will, and He’ll take care of the rest.
Proverbs 3:6: “In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He WILL direct your paths.”
Pastor Lisa Bolar