Morning Reflections – Romans 12

In my 16 years of ministry the most common question I have been asked is, “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?” People want to know what God wants for their lives but don’t always know how to identify that. I remember being in a Bible study with some guys where I was struggling with the same question. I shared with the guys how desperately I wanted to know how God was leading me. One of the guys responded, “Maybe you should spend less time seeking God’s will and more time seeking God… and then maybe his direction for your life will become more clear.” It was such a simple idea (apparently not simple enough for me to think of it on my own), but it was one that has helped throughout my life since. 

These verses in Romans 12 are one’s that are often quoted in a variety of contexts, but I think they speak directly into the question, “What is God’s will for my life? Paul encourages us to offer all that we are to God, which means that our pattern of life will not conform to that of the rest of the world. As followers of Jesus we are called to live in a way that is not always consistent with the “values” of those who are not. We are to, according to verse 17 not to “…repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That’s not how the rest of the world lives. In verse 20-21 Paul says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;  if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Again, this is not how the rest of the world lives but it is, I think, how we offer ourselves to God… or how we “seek” God. As I was instructed by my friend, and as Paul instructs us here, when we live this transformed life we “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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