As I work to learn how to be in the very center of God’s will for my life, and teach my children to do the same, I’m learning just how much that myself and so many Bible believing Christians with good hearts lead their own way without even knowing it.
Romans 12:1 tells us:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
This is what, at the minimum, we are called to be and do for God. What is meant by the word “sacrifice”? Webster’s Dictionary defines the word this way:
the act of sacrificing or offering to a deity, to give up for a higher good, to disregard or neglect the interest of.
When Paul beseeches us to be a living sacrifice to God, what he is suggesting is that we give up our own interests in order to advance the interests of God for the greater good. God, as we are told in 1 John 4:8, is LOVE. There is no one that loves greater than God, because God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13). Therefore, God knows what paths will bring you peace and life and what paths will bring you trouble and suffering.
So when we choose to present ourselves as living sacrifices to Him, it means that we are saying “God, I don’t want to run my own show anymore. Tell me what You want for my life. I want to be in the center of Your will.”
But often times we miss the boat as we search for ways to impact the kingdom. We think about what types of occupations or ministries we would like to do, or we take opportunities that come our way simply because they are “good” opportunities that would allow us to do good and share the love of Christ, or make good money so we could give more away, or whatever. But just because an opportunity is good in your sight, or in the sight of your pastor or anyone else, doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity God wants you to take. Just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s from God.
This is where it’s so vitally important for Christians to learn to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. In my practice at this – and it does take lots and lots of practice – I’ve gotten so much better at hearing God speak to me that in many instances, I can tell pretty quickly when an opportunity arises whether or not God wants me to be involved. Many times He doesn’t, and it doesn’t make sense to me. And many times He does, and it doesn’t make sense.
Years ago our oldest daughter wanted a horse. I wanted to give it to her, but financially it didn’t make any sense at all for our family, so I purposed in my heart to tell her that we weren’t going to get the horse for her. In prayer, however, God told me to get the horse. I thought He was crazy, and proceeded to explain to Him how that financially, it just wasn’t logical.
God got quiet, as He often does when He’s waiting for me to get over myself. When I realized that I was leading my own way instead of letting Him lead, I repented, turned around and followed His lead.
We’ve had that horse for 3 years now, and that horse has been such a blessing to my daughter and to dozens of other people that we’ve shared him with. It has allowed for hard hearts to become soft, opening the door for us to share the love of Christ with others.
I wasn’t thinking that this horse would bring so much love and opportunity for us to share love. I was only thinking about us and how the horse would affect us. But God sees things on a broader scale than we do, being the Creator of the Universe. He knows better than we do how a decision will affect us and our lives, therefore we can’t assume that just because something is good for us, or good for the kingdom (in our eyes) or good for whatever, that it is from God or that it is God’s will for our lives.
It’s only when we become a living sacrifice to Him, committing all life decisions over to Him and waiting to hear His instruction on them that we can learn to truly walk in the very center of His will for our lives. And hearing God starts with humbling yourself to seek Him first above all other things in your life.
The more I learn about how to walk in God’s perfect will for our lives, the more peace, contentment, joy and success I have in life. God’s plans for us are good and not evil to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), so choose today to submit yourself completely to Him and to finding out what His perfect will is for your life. I guarantee it’s much better than anything you’ve got planned for yourself.
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