Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:2

The most common question I have been asked in the past 30+ years of pastoral work is, “how can I know the will of God for my life.” From young people to the eldest among us, this has been the most frequently asked question. Aren’t you glad there are scriptures that directly address this quandary, and there are none better than this text in Romans 12:2? Not to sound like I am beating the same drum, but understanding context when trying to understand what the scriptures mean is exceptionally important. In this particular case, Paul directly addresses how to “test and approve” what the will of God is for our lives. The context Paul provides is crucial and foundational in discerning what the will of God is for our lives. Over the past 11 days in these devotions, we have endeavored to ‘unpack’ the context in these verses so we are all better equipped to ascertain what the will of God is for our lives. Let’s review them:

#1 – True Worship happens when we offer ourselves to God as a “living sacrifice.” In other words, worship is not a mental or musical exercise, but rather the total and absolute surrender of our lives to God.

#2 – Renewing of the mind, is a process that leads to personal transformation (meta-morphoo).

#3 – Transformation is also a process of becoming who we were created to be, where we are no longer controlled by our sin nature, our appetites, or the world; but by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, we fall “out of love with the world” (1Jo 2:15-17) and are no longer conformed to, or controlled by it.

True worship, renewing of the mind & personal transformation are all ingredients in helping us more clearly discern the Will of God for our lives. Embracing these Kingdom values provides the tools we need to properly examinescrutinize and recognize the Will of God. Why use such strong, investigative-type words when discussing the Will of God? Because that is precisely how the apostle Paul describes ascertaining the Will of God in this text.

“…Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” Rom 12:2b

When the NIV translation uses the words, “test” and “approve” to convey how we are to comprehend the Will of God for our lives, it is translating one Greek word that is beautifully deep and complex. The transliterated word, “dokimazo,” is one that everyone in Paul’s world would have instantly understood because it had such literal and practical applications. It meant, to “test, examine, prove, scrutinize as genuine” something that is being offered. In other words, it wasn’t something that was lightly considered or flippantly decided, but rather something we weigh, contemplate and evaluate thoroughly before embracing. The word Paul chooses to use here to help the Roman Church understand how to live in the Will of God would have caused people to immediately think of something of value. Actually money. When Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, the currency used in the Empire was made from malleable metals, metals that could be easily altered. People would alter the coins by “shaving” off some of the metal in order to collect the shavings and remelt their own new coins. It was such a common practice that 8 laws were passed in Rome during this time to prevent people from “shaving” the currency in order to make their own coins to put in circulation. People who refused to alter the currency, to “shave” off some of the metal for themselves, became know as the “dokimos,” or people of integrity. People who refused to alter what was being offered in order to personally benefit. People who would “examine, test and scrutinize as genuine,” the currency being offered to them in order to only receive what was “good, pleasing and perfect.”

All that to say, in choosing the Will of God for our lives it is not some random, accidental or thoughtless process, but rather something we thoroughly investigate, consider, pray through and finally embrace as being authentic. Something that is genuine. Something that we can give our lives for. Something of value that is worthy of everything we are.

Exercise: Have I taken the time to evaluate how I can better understand the Will of God for my life? Is the Will of God valuable enough for me to not cut corners or alter in any way, but rather to fully embrace? How can more fully understand and embrace God’s Will for my life?

Prayer: Lord help me to value and spend the time necessary to examine, test, and prove what the Will of God is for my life. Help me not to trip through life without valuing Your Will enough to spend the appropriate time discerning your “good, pleasing, and perfect will. I invite you to reveal and expose how I have not given the appropriate place for Your Will in my life. Help me to value Your Will above my own in every decision I make.

In concluding today’s devotional, it also concludes this series of devotionals on “Renewing The Mind.” It has been a challenge to prepare but it has also been a rewarding experience and we hope it has blessed everyone who has taken the time to read and reflect on them.

Next week we are going to send out a survey to see how many people enjoyed these devotionals and feel they have personally benefitted from them.  If you would PLEASE take the time to complete the survey you will receive, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and ponder what we have put together for the past two weeks.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:18-19