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Background Scripture: Romans 12


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 – his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

This is the last in a four part series of thinking about what God’s Word has to say to the Christian about not conforming to the patterns of this world in which we live.  Thus far we have seen that because of God’s mercy towards us sinners in providing a means of redemption for us, we are to offer our very selves to Him as our act of spiritual worship.  We have also seen that such an offering of worship to God is holy and pleasing to him.  In addition, we have seen that we are to undergo a transformation by the renewing of our minds.

Paul tells us that if we do all of the above by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit a perplexing mystery will be revealed to us.  “Perplexing” because in Christian circles one often hears other Christians say “I’m seeking God’s will right now.”  Surely something that is being actively and persistently sought by serious minded followers of Christ must be difficult to find.  Furthermore, a quick browsing of the shelves in any modern Christian bookstore reveals dozens of books written solely for the purpose of telling other Christians how to know, discern, and/or find the will of God for their lives.  One can only assume that these kind of books sell fairly well.

Again, the problem for believers seems to be that we are thinking like the world thinks.  Paul has already told us to “not conform any longer to the pattern of the world.”  Woe is us!  We, like the world, are constantly searching for something that will make us happy.  The world writes “self-help” books.  Christians write “finding the will of the God” books.  Alas, we look in all the wrong places.

The right place to look is in God’s Holy Word.  Look at the last part of Romans 12:2!  What all the people buying all the other books are looking for is revealed.  The Holy Spirit tells us that if we do what He says to do in verses 1 and 2 we “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Phillips puts it this way: “So that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good.”  That word “prove” in the Phillip’s translation is interesting.  We realize that no one can “prove” God.  God is beyond proof.  The “Great I Am” simply is and no proof is required.  Yet, Phillip correctly uses the word “prove” here.  One is reminded of Phillip’s response to Nathaniel’s question when told that the Messiah was from Nazareth.  Nathaniel wondered about whether anything good could possibly come from Nazareth.  Phillip’s reply: “Come and see.”  In other words, once you have seen Jesus you will know beyond any doubt.  For those who know God, proof of His existence is superfluous.  As John tells us in his first letter, those who know Him have the testimony of the Holy Spirit within them.  Believers know that they know that they know and no proof is necessary!  Reader, do you have this testimony of the Holy Spirit in you this day?  If not, ask Him to come into your life this day.

In Romans 12:2, Paul is stating the profound truth of the Gospel, to wit: “Live your life for Christ, and nothing else will matter.”  Seek Him and obey Him, Christians.  We are to serve Him, not that He will love us at the end of time, but because he has loved us before the beginning of time.  His will for each of us who have been foreknown, predestined, called, justified and yes, even glorified, is simple: we are to love Him, serve Him, worship Him in all things.  Praise Him right now, won’t you?

James McLaughlin


Suggested Readings: The Christian Mind by Harry Blamires (Servant Books); Clear and Present, Church and State in Post-Christian America by William A. Stanmeyer (Servant Books, 1983); and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (Dodd, Mead, & Company, Inc. 1935).  Also read 1st Peter.


– This article comes from AI’s devotional for lawyers titled, “What Does the Lord Require of You?”