Abusing God’s Will
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2
The second reason we need to let God weigh in on His will is because there is so much abuse of the subject. I certainly hear attempts at this often and have witnessed the results for many years now. Christians use this phrase to push off accountability to other people saying, “This is God’s will for me.” And what they really imply by saying that is, “I have determined that God wants me to do this so don’t you say anything to me because, bottom line, this is what God wants, so don’t mess with Him.” Christians (me included) can sometimes use that phrase a little bit flippantly. It’s always tempting to put the “God’s will” label on what is my will. It may work as a way to end discussion but it risks offending God if we are using that phrase to refuse wise counsel.
Now, have you noticed how when you overuse something it starts to become less meaningful? I think we’re overusing the phrase “God’s will.” God does have a will but I think we’re far too aggressive when we say, “That is/is not God’s will.” I wish I had not said that sometimes. Claiming the inside track on knowing God’s will is dangerous—particularly, as Romans 12:2 indicates, if what we propose isn’t “good and acceptable and perfect.”
Do you know what’s even more dangerous? It’s the people who basically say, “God told me to tell you His will for you.” Do you hear that? Now whether it’s a preacher at the front or your mother on the phone, when somebody says to you, “God told me to tell you this,” every red flag you have should go up.
Please consider that maybe “God told me to tell you” is sometimes at best presumptuous and at worst very dangerous. I’m not suggesting that God doesn’t tell us things, or that there aren’t times where the Lord might not lay something on my heart to share with you or you with me. I am simply pointing out that you’re saying it happened doesn’t mean it happened. We should be very, very careful about how we use that phrase with one another. There’s so much abuse. —James MacDonald
· Based on Romans 12:1-2, how do I go about “testing” when I think I have discovered or someone tells me they’ve discovered God’s will?
Prayer - Father, my desire to submit to Your will needs to be shaped and directed by Your Word. Remind me to have a healthy suspicion of my conclusions until I can clearly see that they conform to what You have revealed in Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.