By Scott Armstrong
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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 12:1-2 NIV)
In the church we make knowing God’s will seem so easy. There are formulas we can follow! For example, James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (1:5). There’s the Wisdom Formula: we lack it, we ask for it—Boom, we get it! So why is it hardly ever so simple?
As a youth pastor and now a missionary, I have seen many teens through the years who have struggled with knowing God’s will for their lives. Who am I supposed to marry? Where am I supposed to go to college? What does God want me to do today, right now?
Romans 12:1-2 is a well-known passage that contains another formula for knowing God’s will. It promises that we will “be able to test and approve what God’s will is” if we just follow the aforementioned instructions. We must offer ourselves as “living sacrifices.” A sacrifice has no rights; it is surrendered completely on an altar. Even a living sacrifice has to be surrendered entirely. Then the instructions say, we must not be conformed to the world around us, but be transformed. There has to be a genuine change in our lifestyles and even mindsets—something that is visually different from the surrounding culture.
Although many of us are tired of quick and easy formulas, I believe the key to knowing God’s will is wrapped up in these instructions. We will know God’s will if we surrender everything to him.
Of the hundreds of teens I have seen struggling to know God’s will for their lives, do you know which ones have seemed to understand God’s will more than the others? The ones who have been sold out to God, 100%. The ones who have longed to not just know his will, but to know God himself more and more each day. The sacrificed ones. Those who are not conformed to the world around them. Those who have been transformed.
Do you want to know God’s will?
Are you a living sacrifice yet?