THE WILL OF GOD?
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By Phil Scovell
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THE WILL OF GOD?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MOLDED BY THE WORLD
THE RENEWING PROCESS
THE RENEWED MIND
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Most of us, as Christians, express deep concern over
knowing God's will for our lives. Few, however, spend much time
trying to figure it out; nevertheless, we worry. Why? We are
fairly sure, if one is not "In God's Will," there won't be many
blessings - everybody wants to be blessed. So what can we do?
It is easy to say; and true, of course, that the Word of God
is God's will. It is remarkable, however, the distance we are
willing to go to avoid obedience. We are committed to gleaning
from radio and television programs, faithful to attend special
meetings, willing to sign up for the latest seminar, amenable to
spending our last dollar purchasing the most current Christian
book, or anointed tape; and sometimes, when desperate, we will
even request prayer. The truth is; most wouldn't do God's will
even if it were known. I am convinced we should be more
concerned with the "doing" of God's will rather than the
The Apostle Paul often made mention of "God's will" in his
epistles and perhaps the most well known, certainly one of the
most exhortive, passages which concerns the will of God is found
in Romans 12:1-2...
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed
to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect
will of God."
This passage affords so many avenues of theological thought
that volumes could be written without ever coming to the topic
of: "the perfect will of God." Thus, I won't spend much time with
the first part; but some comments are in order.
Paul is very distinct in his writing and clearly states
God's will is for our bodies to be presented as a "living
sacrifice." This is only possible, of course, if He is living in
you. Are you born again? Have you confessed Jesus as your Lord?
(Romans 10:9). Do you have a personal relationship with Christ
through His finished work upon the cross? When did this happen
in your life? Without this foundation and spiritual security,
doing the will of God will be impossible. His will is for"All to
come to repentance," (II Peter 3:9). So come! If such a
personal relationship with your Heavenly Father exists, the first
requirement is to "present your body."
It's funny, but often Christians decree, "Nobody can tell me
what to do with my body. I've been set free!" That's nice.
Wrong; but nice. Paul said he was a bond slave for Christ and
that he always brought his body under subjection, (I Cor. 9:27).
If anyone still thinks that their own physical body is their's to
do with as they please, read I Corinthians 6 and Romans 6 a few
times and then repent.
The Greek word for "present" in Romans 12:1 means to (stand
beside). Interesting! Stand beside what or whom? We could
safely say, without even acquiring a seminary degree, those doing
the will of God should present, or stand beside, both our Lord
and His Word. This word, however, offers some interesting
"Present" is translated in the King James forty times in a
number of ways: (Stand, stand before, stood, do, come), and
(presently); to name a few. To demonstrate the force [power] of
the word; consider Matthew 26:53 when Jesus was being taken by
force to Caiaphas. Jesus said he could have prayed to the Father
and requested that more than twelve legions of angels be
"presently" sent to deliver Him. Could we possibly get the idea
that this word "presently" in Matthew 26:53, or the same word
translated "present" in Romans 12:1, is a command word?
Men are relaxing in their barracks: reading, writing letters
home, listening to the radio, napping. In walks a sergeant and
barks... "Tenhut!" Everyone snaps to attention. Why? To be
presented for inspection.
I believe this is the true meaning of "present your bodies" in
Romans 12:1. We are commanded to "present our bodies a living
sacrifice; holy, acceptable unto God." The word "holy" is
(blameless) and the word for "acceptable" is (agree) or (in
agreement). In another words, there is a standard - the Word of
God; and We must present ourselves in accordance with God's Word
if we are going to do His will.
We are also reminded that this is our "reasonable service."
"Reasonable" is rendered (rational) and "service" is actually a
word meaning (worship). How about that! Our presented lives
should be conducted in such a manner that we are a perpetual
worship to the Lord. Wow! That sounds like work. If you
planned to live out your Christian life on easy street, you
haven't received the true Gospel. We don't have to work to be
born again, (Eph. 2:8-9), but by God's grace we must "present our
bodies a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service," and
that takes work - discipline.
MOLDED BY THE WORLD
Once we have presented ourselves, Paul warns us of the
problem we face as Believers in the world. I find it interesting
that the word for "world" in Romans 12:2 is not, as I would have
supposed, kosmos, which refers to the material physical (world)
- universe. Rather aion is used; meaning (age). Repeatedly we
are told in Scripture that we are not of this world as
Christians, for our citizenship is heavenly. Thus, we should
not, indeed cannot, be conformed to this world - age; because we
are of another (age), or world - God's. Yet there is the world
problem and we must deal with it and the way we deal with it is
through the "renewing of the mind."
I started earning money at the age of ten. I found a job
working for a plaster shop which made figurines: dolls, birds,
dogs, bears, rabbits, and such; mostly sold to amusement parks
for those free give-away things you win if you knock over so many
bottles, pick up the correct floating duck with the right number
on the bottom, or hit the bull's eye. We used molds made of
rubber to form the figurines which were held together by hard
shells while the plaster was hardening. The process was in three
First, the plaster was mixed and poured rapidly into the
molds and then quickly dumped. A thin coating of plaster
remained in the mold. We quickly jammed wadded newspaper into
the bottom of the mold - the molds stood up-side-down while
drying - and a thin layer of plaster was then smeared over the
end and smoothed down.
Secondly, the molds were left for several hours to harden
and once done, we removed them from there rubber molds. Funny!
The figurines always looked exactly like their molds. We then
used a tool to trim off excess plaster.
The third, and final, stage was painting. The figurines
were carried to the paint room and organized on tables and then
spray painted. When dry, they were done - ready for their
Whenever I read Romans 12:2, I always am reminded of that
process. Paul said we were not, as Christians, to be "conformed"
to this world. The problem is, we are, physically speaking, of
this world. We have to be; but the world does not have to be of
As I mentioned, the figurines always looked exactly like the
molds. in another words, whatever we poured into the molds is
what we got out of them. What are you pouring into your mold,
life, today as a Believer of God's Word?Whom do we look like as
I can already hear someone screaming, "Legalism, legalism."
I spent the better part of my Christian life living by rule and
regulation and am always amazed at people, especially those
filled with the Spirit, that think such teaching is legalistic.
If so, Paul was a legalist because he is the narrow-minded
writer; filled with the Spirit I might add, who was directed by
God to write: "Be not conformed to this world." It was not a
When discoursing with many Christians today, one could get
the idea that living the Christian life - walking in the Spirit,
conforming to the image of Christ, being led of the Holy Ghost,
bearing spiritual fruit, dying to self, serving God with a whole
heart - is all spiritually performed with no need of taking
thought. Furthermore, I used to think that being filled with the
Holy Spirit was a Christian who was "controlled" by the Spirit.
Actually the reverse is true: we control the Holy Spirit.
Eyebrows always jump when I make that statement but it is true
nonetheless. Look at it this way:
When we are born again, regenerated by the power of God and
made anew, we receive a nature compatible with that of God's. It
is in this newly created human spirit that the Holy Spirit comes
to dwell. (See Titus 3:5-6.) Will the Holy Spirit lead a
Christian not doing the will of God? Will He, the Holy Spirit,
manifest Himself in power to one not yielded? Will the
Holy Spirit minister if we, as Christians, are living in sin?
That's right. The answer is, "No!" under no circumstances.
Thus, we, in a very real sense, control the Holy Spirit. He is
our "helper," Romans 8:26), but He cannot help those who are not
obedient to God's Word. Can you see now why it is so important
that we present our bodies?
The most fastidious problem faced by Christians, when
considering the will of God, is our attempt to do it without
"thinking/thought." A preacher friend once told me he heard that
ninety-eight percent of all people in America do not think. I
laughed and said, "That doesn't bother me. What does; is what
the other two percent are thinking and I think I know what that
is: They are thinking of ways of keeping the other ninety-eight
percent from thinking." So it is with the Devil and Christians.
If he can get you to believe that the only way you can do God's
will is by performing some spiritual hocus-pocus, supernatural
gymnastics, religious regulation, or mystical magic; you will
never conform to God's will.
The word for "mind" in Romans 12:2 is translated
(intellect). Imagine that! The doing of God's will involves
that thing perched on top of our shoulders. "Who would have
thought...?" It is true. The first step to knowing, doing,
God's will is to think - use the mind and Paul instructed that
the process of doing God's will is called "the renewing of the
THE RENEWING PROCESS
Paul said, "And be not conformed to this world, but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind." "Transformed" is the
Greek word (metamorphoo.) He used this word because of general
familiarity with the process of metamorphosis.
Using my computer, I recently called a data base
encyclopedia. I typed in the word "metamorphosis" and up popped
an article on the subject which began scrolling up the screen.
The metamorphosis process was described in three stages:
First, the "larva." This is the time immediately following
birth. A new life has been created and the creature begins to
eat. Why? He's hungry - what an appetite. The thing: insect,
animal, etc., eats like crazy because it is young and needs the
The second stage is called "pupa." This is that stage, in
the development of the butterfly for example, when it is
uuuugggly! You've seen those dreadful looking greeny worms? Oh,
they look grouse, and they're fat, and have a million legs, and
they eat anything green. Well, when those ugly looking worms are
finally done eating everything in sight, and it's time for them
to become butterflies, they spin a cocoon and they don't do it by
watching the movie.
The interesting thing about the pupa stage is what occurs
during their time inside their cocoon. An actual cell
restructure takes place. They change - transform; become
something else, something different, something new. The thing
that excited me, however; [are Christians allowed to get
excited], is that the pupa stage was described in this article as
the time they "weather out the storms of winter." More on this
in a moment.
Finally there is the "adult" stage. The creature emerges
from the cocoon and is fully grown, matured, and is now an adult;
able to reproduce.
Paul used this three-stage process to describe the will of
God when he said "that ye may know what is the good, and
acceptable, and perfect will of God." Do you see it? First, he
says, there is the "good", or the larva stage. Remember when you
were born again. Oh, Man! You gobbled up everything in sight as
a newly birthed creation of God and it was "goooooood!" You just
couldn't get enough of the Bible, church, singing, and fellowship
Then, as often happens without proper Biblical instruction,
things begin to chill. There just isn't quite the thrill as in
the beginning and personal problems began to look pretty big and
difficult to handle. Cold winds of harsh circumstances began to
chill your love for the Lord, His Word, and His people.
During your dry spell, as they often are called, you heard
something on the radio/TV - you heard a stirring message from the
pastor - you read something from God's Word; and suddenly there
was revelation, illumination, by the Holy Spirit and there was
newness of life all over again. You learned something never seen
before. The light of God's Word shown brightly and exposed truth
upon the circumstances being faced. Faith came and along with it
joy. You began to praise God, although the circumstances,
perhaps, had not changed; and you believed God and His Word.
You began to walk in that revelation and what happened? There
was victory, power, and restoration.
Then, less God, you just couldn't keep it a secret. You had
to tell somebody and you did. Or, you bumped into someone who
was facing similar difficulties and you were able to thus
encourage them because of your own experience in the Word. What
happened? You reproduced yourself according to God's Word and
will. This process is called the "renewing of the mind."
The three words translated "good," and "acceptable," and
"perfect," in Romans 12:2, describe the three stages of God's
will in the life of the Believer. "Good" means exactly that:
(good). Being born again is so good! We begin to eat after God
through fellowship, Bible study, prayer and the like and it is
good - fulfilling.
"Acceptable" is the word for (agreement). It is the same
word used in verse 1: "That ye present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, "acceptable" unto God." The body we present to
the Lord must be in full agreement both in nature and in
character, in kind and in person, in image and in form - in
agreement. This, of course, has been made possible by our Lord
Jesus Christ when we confessed Him as Lord and Saviour of our
Finally there is "the perfect will of God." The word for
"perfect" in this case is rendered (grown, mature), and sometimes
is even translated in the New Testament as (men). I thought that
odd as well till I realized what was being taught. The "perfect"
will of God is the stage of spiritual maturity, or full growth -
an adult. Thus the word "perfect" can be correctly rendered (one
fully matured) or a (grown man).
Remember what happens during the adult stage? Reproduction!
Such is not even possible during early stages of development; but
when one is fully matured, made perfect, in the will of God;
reproduction is not only possible but natural.
Return now and read about those three stages of development
spoken of earlier, called the larva, pupa, and adult. you will
clearly see the similarities in relationship to the Christian
life. Then reread my description of the three stages we used
when forming the plaster figurines and notice the comparison.
I will not quote Mark 4:26-28 but I encourage you to take
the time to read it in connection with this topic. Jesus made
reference to this same process, "renewing of the mind," in this
passage and said there is first the blade, then the ear, and
finally the full corn.
The blade is that larva stage, or the "good" stage of
spiritual growth. It is when the blade, soon to be ripened corn,
is soaking up all the sunshine, moisture, and nutrients from the
soil it can.
The ear is the pupa, or "acceptable" stages of growth
whereby we walk in agreement. It looks like corn and certainly
has the appearance of corn, and in fact is going to be corn; but
is not fully developed.
Finally, Jesus says, "There it is...the full corn..." What
can you do with that full corn? Eat it, enjoy it, and what?
Reproduce it because it has fully matured, become perfect, and
is able to be planted again for more corn.
THE RENEWED MIND
As I mentioned already, the word for "mind" in this passage,
Romans 12:1-2, is translated (intellect). If you plan to live
your Christian life without engaging the brain, forget it. It
isn't possible. To renew the mind, you must think, study,
meditate upon God's Word. There just isn't any other way - I'm
Now someone is saying already, "But I do think!" Sure we
do! We think:
"Oh, isn't God ever going to help me? Why did He allow this
to happen? Aren't all things possible with God? Why is God
punishing me? Doesn't He love me any more? Isn't anything ever
going to go right for me? When is God ever going to release me?
Doesn't He know what's going on in my life?"
Did you see all of those question marks? No wonder God doesn't
answer your prayers - your too busy talking. Besides, God has
already answered all of those questions in His word...so renew
your mind...think...with His Word, promises, and truth.
The word "renewing" actually means to (renovate), that is to
refresh, sharpen, reform, or to reshape. So do it. Reform your
incorrect thinking, reshape it to look like God's thinking,
sharpen your thought life with the Sword of the Spirit "which is
the Word of God," refresh your dryness of soul with the water
of life in God's Word and live. If you will renew your thinking
with God's Word, you will be doing God's will. Hey! Isn't that
what we've been talking about all along - Doing God's will - or
more correctly, knowing God's will.
It is funny how things roll around in your thinking,
sometimes for weeks and months, before they are illuminated by
the Holy Spirit. For example, I began teaching recently on the
subject of "dying To Self." I spoke for two weeks on the subject
and then before leaving the topic, I knew the Lord was revealing
something to me concerning knowing And doing the will of God.
This very subject of the renewing of the mind came to my
attention by the Spirit. The problem was, however, those three
weeks were emotionally and spiritually a bear. Nothing was going
right, my attitude was poor, and God seemed to be forgetting me.
I knew most of my problems were from whatever it was God was
trying to reveal to me but that did not help me deal with it.
Finally, in one of our informal home group Bible studies, I
requested prayer. I had not been sleeping well, my body was
beginning to suffer, and frankly, I felt whipped and effete. My
brothers and sisters in the Lord prayed accordingly and I
immediately began to recover.
As the Lord began to reveal His will to me, I began to renew
my mind. I listened to good Christian music, focused my thoughts
on God's Word, and meditated on spiritual things. In short, I
renewed my mind, thus to think more like God as revealed through
Looking back, I now see the process in play. God was giving
me revelation, insight and understanding, concerning certain
aspects of truth in His Word. I was beginning to walk in it,
agree with His truth, and the storms; cold and harsh, began to
war against me. A metamorphosis was taking place, a cell
structure change spiritually speaking, and through the Word, the
storm was weathered.
What happened next? Maturity and reproduction. I was able
to show this Biblical truth to my brothers and sisters in the
fellowship in a way I had never known or been able to see before.
The process was three-fold and is maintained by "the renewing of
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Lord never expected us to try this Christian life on for
size nor did He intend for us to do it alone. Most of our
problems as Christians arise from trying to do exactly that -
live the Christian life singularly; by rule and regulation or
simply by feelings and experience. Won't work! We need the
Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26-27 confirms His, the Holy Spirit's,
willingness to help us both in prayer and ministry. Without
being filled with the Holy Spirit, you will indeed find it
difficult to renew the mind.
I Do not believe Paul was referring to the will of God as
something generic. For example:
"The will of God is for you to be in church every Sunday and
never miss. God's will is for you to tithe. God's will is for
you to read your Bible," or, "God's will is for you to be a good
You may choose to say that all of those things are God's will;
but I think it obvious that such was not Paul's concern in his
letter to the Roman Christians. God's will for every Believer is
for them to be "Doers of the Word and not hearers only" (James
1:21). Thus we should not be so concerned with determining God's
will as doing His will. As we thus live, we will find, of
necessity, the need; even the desire, to renew our mind -
thinking. To conform; not to the world, but to God and His Word.
In the process, we will be walking through the three stages of
spiritual growth - good, and acceptable, and perfect - will of
I caution you not to consider this process as steps one,
two, and three - thus at life's end, looking back, concluding:
"I made it...Spiritual maturity!" I believe this renewing process
works both for individual situations and circumstances as well as
First we learn something new from the Lord through the Word.
Then we are required to walk in it and sometimes that test walk
is long and arduous. Finally, however, we mature, grow up,
(become a man/woman), as a result of such a walk in the Lord and
then we are able to reproduce, spiritually with ebullition, that
which we have learned through doing the will of God. If we will
thus live, we will mature in the Lord and most importantly, be
able to reproduce that which God has done for us.
Be warned, however, that the recognition of such knowledge
will afford opportunity for proving. Storms will come,
difficulties will attempt to shake your foundation, uncertainties
will bring freezing doubt; so be prepared. You might even be
facing such right now as you read. If so, renew your mind.
Rejoice in the knowledge of God's Word. Praise Him because Satan
has already been defeated - neutralized - for the Christian.
Walk by faith and if you find any of this difficult, request
others to stand in prayer with you. If you are not filled with
the Spirit, be filled!
It is very likely that such times of testing are really
stages of spiritual development brought about by revelation
already obtain through God's Word; so walk in what you have
learned and weather the storm. Do not request mercy from God but
victory. If you find yourself feeling spiritually worthless and
see no fruit in your life, call the Devil's bluff...walk in the
Spirit...confess Jesus as Lord over everything in your
life...keep walking in His Word until you are standing in God's
perfect will - the winner's circle. Thus armed with such
knowledge, God's will shall never again be a question mark in
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