Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God ó this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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 ó his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
When we look at this verse of instruction it has a goal to achieve and a way to accomplish it. However you may not understand ďthen you will be able to test and approve what God's willĒ provides the key to understanding the instruction Paul is explaining.
Conforming to the pattern to this world simply means to become compliant to a mold defined by the deeds of the world. The pattern of the world ignores the rights of his fellow man and suppresses the truth by the arrogant and destructive behavior of wicked and godless men. What we see of the world trains our minds to continue in the ways of the world and perpetuates its pattern of life for the next generation. In other words the world of sin educates our mind to live within a state of wickedness.
When we entered into the agreement with God making Jesus our Lord we became a citizen of Godís kingdom and subject to his laws. God is asking us to transform our minds to the way of holiness that governs the kingdom of God.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
By the same token Joshua 1:8 and Romans 12:1-2 have the same motivating method that creates the person God through change of mind. Both of these passages have the same procedure requiring reverential obedience to pay attention to Godís will. Both of these passages place seeking Godís kingdom and righteousness as a priority. Meditating transforms the man of God into a successful leader that approves Godís will who then consents to become Godís holy servant.
Testing and approving God's known will is the outcome of renewing our mind. It advocates reading; studying and then reflect on Godís word to learn what pleases God. Reading begins a process of listening directly to his inspired word. Study is the process of gathering as much pertinent information as possible on a specific subject of interests. Meditating compares the known facts; places them into reasonable order to develop sound principles that we can use throughout our lives.
Itís not logical to obey God unless God command makes sense in our eyes. When you ponder Godís word it puts you in the driverís seat and on the Judges bench. You become the judge and jury that will render a verdict either for or against; defines a value on the matter and determines whether we want apply its principles.
Testing the will of God is a process of compiling evidence. Then consider the matter to determine the relevance of the information. How things fit together in the overall picture is how you make sense of the matter. In addition what happens during application demands a decision of whether you approve or disapprove of the outcome?
Itís like getting a piece of wedding cake on a plate however whatís left on the plate when you set it down bears the verdict of what you thought of it. The testing of things leaves an indelible mark on your mind and its impression determines its value to you. Pondering Godís word ultimately decides whether you can accept or reject the commands of God.
Notice that God wanted Joshua to meditate on his word so he would do everything that was written in the book of law. The book of the law was Joshuaís tutor that revealed Godís will and taught him to do the will of God. It was doing the will of god that he became prosperous and had success.
The final step of renewing the mind is your rejection or approval. Rejection ends the matter but approval means that it is right in your eyes. If the decision dictates its right in your eyes then itís approval will permit you to obey God. This leads to willful obedience of Godís commands.
But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
Does the Lord delight in sacrifices as much as obedience? The sacrifice of Romans 12:1 is not a surrendered life which amounts to throwing in your towel in defeat but renewing your mind will mold your obedience and created a pattern of holiness accepted by God.
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
God doesnít take prisoners or find reluctant obedience acceptable. He is God, the supreme leader of the Kingdom of God who desires servants that serve him out of love. Itís both logical and reasonable that the more you know about God the easier it is to love him. Still God would prefer subjects that obey him from their heart with respect for his position of their free will.
God has gone the extra mile to ensure that his kingdom will prosper.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27
It is that quiet and calm voice directing us to follow Christ and walk in his path. God put his spirit in us to convince and encourage our obedience and then works in us through the renewal of our minds so by approving his will we would do everything commanded of God of our own volition. 10/02/2014
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