For those who've played golf or baseball, you're probably familiar with the term sweet spot. It has to do with getting a feel for hitting the ball with great power and persistence without having to over-exert yourself. This can also pertain to having a talent or developing a skill, which brings fulfillment and joy into your life while using it. It's upon this idea we will stack some thoughts around concerning the will of God.
Deep down we all know that merely saying we are Christian while holding certain beliefs but doing nothing is really quite pathetic, especially given our race's greatest need is for strong, faithful Christians. Possibly you've been led to assume that just coming to an understanding of the racial aspect of the Gospel means we've arrived, and that there's nothing left- actually the complete opposite is true. Finding out who Christ died for is only the beginning. For now that you know who to minister to and what Christ did for you, you have the greatest incentive for getting involved in God's work.
Up until now, how important has knowing God's will for your life been to you? Possibly you've never been encouraged to pursue it, assuming personally knowing God's will is to remain some great mystery way too difficult to surmize, or even, impossible. In most churches it's not emphasized, other than as it pertains to those going into 'professional ministry'. In the Bible however, there are no professional ministers. For we are all called to minister in our own way since (as you will see) all of us have spiritual gifts, with leadership and teaching being only two of the many gifts God has given.
On top of that, some may want to know if there can be proof in one's life of conversion. According to the Apostle Paul, here's the way to find out:
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye 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 ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For an Israelite who has a pretty good grasp on the message of the Scriptures, there is no more timely instruction than what Paul is saying here. This is the next, progressive step of how each of us should respond to the revelation of God. There is much going on in these two verses, but it's very simple: if you claim to be a Christian, present yourself to God in order to discover and perform God's will for your life. Whether or not you receive this and act upon it is pivotal, for this is the only "acceptable" response. Your Father is giving you the opportunity to get your life in order and back on target. But it will take more than just thinking about it: CHRISTIANITY REQUIRES SURRENDER AND SACRIFICE. How you choose to be after this could determine whether you become a part of achieving great things for God or spend the rest of your life on the road to spiritual failure by putting God off.
Being an effective Christian involves heartfelt dedication. The thing is, if you've had the foundation of the racial aspect of the Gospel laid in your life, you should be looking for ways to reach our people, which you can do through the work of this ministry. The more you want to help, the further God will direct you to the place of service which suits you best- finding your sweet spot.
Let's face it, when it comes to our lives, most of us are aiming at nothing and hitting it every time. The Apostle Paul wanted everyone he taught to know the perfect will of God personally:
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
So Paul says, "I beseech you" or as the New American Standard puts it, "I urge you therefore"- based on everything he had already told the Romans and everything you've learned as it pertains to you. THE RESULT OF LEARNING THE TRUTH FOR YOURSELF IS DISCOVERING YOUR PLACE IN GETTING IT TO OTHERS. Christ told His Disciples to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." Do you consider yourself a disciple of Christ? Then the next progressive step after you understand the Gospel is to obey this Great Commission.
Paul was a minister who wanted what was best for God's people. Having a man of God who actually urges God's people to discover God's will for their lives is a rarity. God didn't intend for His will to be some sort of great mystery, where you go through life, repeatedly wondering, "Well, if it's God's will..." Paul is urging us to find out something we can know if we'll just do as he says! SEARCH YOUR HEART FOR GOD AND YOU WILL FIND HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE.
Paul qualifies the approach to finding out God's will "by the mercies of God" because God has not and will never do anything to hinder you from knowing it. The ones who've failed us are those who have taught us to be hearers of the Word of God but did not encourage us to discover God's will. Remember, the grace of God is Him giving you what you do not deserve, while the mercy of God is Him not giving you what you deserve. God is not at all against you finding out His will for your life. But He will not do it for you, it must be your heartfelt decision to want to know. The mercies of God are in reference to His divine protection and guidance. When we are about our Father's business, because of His mercies, we can be assured of God's further help to see us through to kingdom success.
Paul knew the fulfilling Christian life our souls long for isn't in just being a thinking man, but in reaching deep within, resulting in going and accomplishing something for God. When you care about God's people, you want them to be all they can be for Him. This verse describes the special, exclusive aspect of you finding the exact place of "service" God has designed just for you. This sweet spot is found in the midst of discovering what you want to do and be for His glory.
In order to approach this, the Romans were told first to "present your bodies", which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #3936 to exhibit... yield. As with the prophets of old, our humble response when God calls is, "Here am I, send me." Have you ever just unashamedly yielded yourself to Him? He's given you everything, including your body. So doesn't it just seem right that the first step toward finding His will is giving Him back what He's given you, to be used for whatever He lays on our hearts? Of course. Until then, you'll probably still be doing your own thing, calling yourself a Christian.
With God it's "what you see is what you get"- He's not expecting you to put on an act and present yourself as something you are not. He just wants us to realize we are what we are by His grace and mercy, willingly laying it all before Him, withholding nothing. This is the kind of attitude which leads to finding out God's will for your life- being honest and transparent.
How could we ever expect God to reveal something unique and special to us, when we've not been willing to respond to even the basic truth He's shown many of us, by stepping out in faith?! YET HE STILL WANTS YOU- ALL OF YOU. So whatever we have to give, we are to simply "present" it to Him, including how we spend our time. How can you expect for God to really bless you if you keep holding back on Him? Maybe it's time to try a different approach.
When it comes to finding out God's will and then doing it, it's voluntary- you first present yourself. Nobody else has to keep reminding or 'kickstarting' you when it's in your heart. Present yourself by looking for things to do. When you see there's a need, do whatever you can to fill it. This is how you find your sweet spot. Reading and studying are good, but this has to do with finding out areas of ministry which touch your heart through experience. FINDING GOD'S WILL IS ABOUT MAKING YOURSELF AVAILABLE AND TOUCHING LIVES.
Be honest with yourself: would you consider your level of involvement as what this is describing or at least headed in that direction? This is where the physical and spiritual realms coincide with one another- the sweet spot. This is the way you find the place of your greatest effectiveness and can begin feeling a peace that you are about your Father's business.
We are to be "a living sacrifice" as opposed to being like a dead animal sacrifice by refusing to do something for the One Who put His all on the altar for us. Honestly, given Christ's supreme sacrifice for us, how could we ever consider ourselves good Christians if there's no sacrifice for His cause in our lives?! We make sacrifices for our family, as well we should. But how could we be doing that for Christ consistently if we don't even know His will for our lives? Here we see that no matter what His will is, we are only in pursuit of it when we are making sacrifices for Him. A living sacrifice isn't a one time event like presenting a dead sacrifice. It isn't even occasional, but weekly, daily, even momentary at times. What can you do on a consistent basis to show your sacrificial love for your God and your people? It needs to be a part of your life.
Think about when they crucified Jesus. Imagine the amazement the Roman soldiers experienced as they were driving the nails into His hands and feet, and He put up no resistance. There was no need to restrain Him or hold Him down to nail Him to the cross like everyone else. How then can you continue to resist finding out God's will for your life?
We are to be "holy, acceptable unto God". We know this took place judicially in God's sight through Christ's redemptive work on our behalf. But in an everyday, experiential sense, it is your personal choice to set apart yourself for God. FULFILLING GOD'S WILL IN YOUR DAILY LIFE IS THE BEST WAY TO BE SET APART. For only that which is holy is acceptable unto God anyway. He doesn't want our leftovers or to be just some hobby or afterthought. Without faith it is impossible to please or be acceptable to Him. As Jude says He wants "your most holy faith". Without knowing God's will for your life, that is impossible.
This "is your reasonable service." Doesn't it just make sense for God to want you to know His will for your life and to make yourself available and open to it? Of course it does. Wouldn't you say that for a white person to be a Christian, that it's just "reasonable"? PAUL IS SAYING THAT PUTTING FORTH THE EFFORT TO FIND AND ACHIEVE GOD'S WILL IS "YOUR REASONABLE SERVICE". Anything else is falling short of the glory of God. Stop unnecessarily overcomplicating this by thinking it's just for preachers. God created us all with a sweet spot; it's your job to not stop til you figure out what it is.
The thing is, you can go on deceiving yourself into thinking God's will is a mystery, and that serving God is a burden. Or you can search out God's perfect will and your life can become fulfilling and enjoyable like Paul expresses right here:
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Let's face it, when it comes to our relationship with God, it's not just about saying all the right things; it's about being and proving you are His. How do we do it? By finding out and then performing the "will of God". An indication one hasn't received this "renewing" of the mind is unconcern even after Paul says all of this about knowing the will of God for your life. One of the most subtle ways white people are being "conformed to this world" is by remaining ignorant of God's will for their lives. Being worldly isn't just doing certain things, it's also by what we refuse to do as well. So if you don't even want to know God's will for your life, Paul is saying there's a good possibility your mind has not yet been renewed- YOU MUST PROVE IT. Have you been "transformed" or have you merely gravitated towards things in the Bible which make you feel comfortable? We will never find the will of God floating around in apathy and unconcern. The will of God isn't something we find along the way in our afterthoughts. It will be found when we become a living sacrifice by surrendering and "renewing" our minds.
To "be... conformed" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4964, to fashion alike... to conform to the same pattern. In this context, being conformed to this world is to be like most white people, who are not available to knowing God's will for their life. When we profess to be Christians, yet do not know God's individual purpose for our lives, we're not much different than we were before we learned the truth, in our practice. If the truth has not led us to sacrificial service then we have not actually had our minds renewed or been transformed. IF YOUR CHRISTIANITY ISN'T COSTING YOU SOMETHING IT'S BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT FOUND GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE.
To "be not conformed to this world" here is not cosmos or society but Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #165, aion which is age. It's a given from what Paul just said in the previous verse that we are to live separate from society and be holy unto God in that sense. This is in regards to grasping the overall magnitude of having an eternal mindset in our daily lives. Though we live in this age or time period, the purposes of God involve issues of the kingdom which transcend time and space. So not being conformed to this world involves not getting so caught up in things which only pertain to this age (Mathew 13:3-9; 18-23).
Wanting to do God's will is to have kingdom priorities which control what we actually want to accomplish in this life. When all is said and done, we'll all wish we were not so focused on things in this age that really don't matter. Pleasing and being accepted by others, living based on politics, and making decisions based on what everyone else would do are just some of the ways we are conformed to this world. Paul explains this in II Corinthians chapter 10 concerning the way we limit God in our lives with carnal, comparative thinking. We conform by making wrong assumptions based on others' thoughts and experiences. We can always find an excuse or find someone to compare ourselves to in a selected area to try and make ourselves look better. These are also things we use to not find out God's will. In fact, if you still don't know God's will for your life, this may be the area that has indirectly held you back.
Paul urges us to go against the grain of this age when he proclaims, "but be ye transformed" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #3339, metamorphahoo. This is where the word used to describe the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly comes from. Spiros Zodhiates says it's "from meta (3326), denoting change of condition, and morphoo' (3345) to form." THIS CLEARLY SPEAKS OF A CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. This is an inner tranformation which results in visible proof. Stop comparing yourself to others and check your own condition. Are you the same you've always been or has there been a definite change? If so then how come you're still dragging around when it comes to doing God's will for your life?! GOD WANTS MORE FOR YOU BUT YOU MUST FIRST WANT TO CHANGE.
If you've changed on the inside then people can't help but notice because you are touching their lives. But one has got to wonder about himself if he claims to be a Christian and yet has never felt compelled to found out God's will for himself. YOU ARE DOING YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE A DISSERVICE BY NOT KNOWING GOD'S WILL.
Where does this transformation begin? Paul says "by the renewing of your mind" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #342, renovation and #3563 intellect... (in thought, feeling, or will). Paul is showing us how we can be sure we've had our mind renewed and been transformed- if we want to know and do God's will for our lives. It's not just knowing more than others; someone else will always know more than we do. IT IS PRODUCING VISIBLE EVIDENCE FROM YOUR OWN LIFE WHICH ONLY COMES THRU KNOWING AND THEN DOING GOD'S WILL.
This is actually how we "prove" whether or not we've been transformed. It's all or nothing, you've either had your mind renewed and are in pursuit of God's will, or you are still being conformed by this world and the proof is that you do not know His will for yourself. Notice also it doesn't just say that you may know the will of God, but you will "prove" it in your life, by doing something that deep down you want to do. Does this guarentee it's going to be easy? Of course not. In fact, it may be something impossible. But you won't care because it will be something you desire to do when you find your sweet spot.
Thinking about God and studying the Bible is a good place to start, but it's not all we are to do. And just sitting around thinking isn't proof that our mind has been transformed at all. DOING GOD'S WILL IS WHAT PROVES WE'VE BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO BEING DOERS OF THE WORD. There's no middle ground. Finding your sweet spot and doing God's will, will "prove" this in and through your life. But you must first be willing to accept that renewing the mind results in more than just thoughts, beliefs, or even words; it is feeling, activity, and passion. Indeed, renewal must take place in the mind but transformation takes place in the heart. Actually, transformation of the heart confirms that the mind has been renewed. Paul says this is proven by discovering and then living to perform God's will for your life.
In II Timothy 2:15 the New American Standard Bible tells us to "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." We are never ashamed when we enjoy what we are doing for God. It is not for us to spend our whole lives wondering what the will of God is, but to prove it through our lives.
Whatever your sweet spot is, it's something that is "good, and acceptable, and perfect" for you. THE ONLY WAY TO SEE IT THAT WAY IS THROUGH YOUR DESIRE. How could something like this be intended to allude us our whole lives?! It isn't, but begins by us not pursuing it, that's what we are saying. For if your mind has truly been renewed and you have been transformed, His desires are transforming your desires as well. This is reflected by the idea of finding your sweet spot; performing God's will in your life through something you enjoy which brings you fulfillment. YOU MAY OR MAY NOT EVEN KNOW HOW TO DO IT YET. The first step is just wanting to.
The aspect of God's will which is "perfect" for you is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #5046 which is complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character). This speaks of the impact carrying out God's will has upon both the doer and the recipient of its performance- edification and spiritual growth. Maybe you wonder why you haven't grown much beyond knowing race; you've become one with your people, but you may not be one with God. Knowing God's will is becoming one with Him. Christ prayed for us to experience this just before He went to the cross:
20 Neither pray I for these alone (the Disciples), but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
TO KNOW THE WILL OF GOD IS TO BE ONE WITH GOD AND HIS PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. In our text, the "will of God" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #2307, the desire of God, imagine that. Never forget Who made you. You have your own upbringing and choices, along with experiences. But when it comes to what we want, at our core, that's what God made us to be. That's what Christ meant (in a practical sense) when He told the Disciples to become as a little child, letting go of our worldly desires and returning inwardly to His.
No matter how much people want to try and explain away or deny the essential importance of desire in the Christian life, it is the very essence of discovering God's will deep within you. FINDING GOD'S WILL IS KNOWING WHERE YOUR DESIRES INTERSECT WITH GOD'S DESIRES. Each of us have desires and God also has desires. Not all of your desires are God's desires, just as not all of God's desires involve or pertain to you. But discovering what God desires for your life is finding the sweet spot where you discover certain things God has just for you and they are the very perfect will of God for your life. How do we discover God's will? It all begins with your intimate relationship with Him; again, becoming one with Him. Here's a clear description of how to find your sweet spot:
4 Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
THE SWEET SPOT IS WHERE YOUR HEART MEETS WITH GOD. He will give you all you need to know and to do His good pleasure by getting close to Him, including personal wisdom. Wisdom is commonly defined as knowledge put to use. Paul has told us that knowledge can puff us up, how? Obviously, when we're not putting to use the knowledge He has provided us by performing His perfect will for our lives.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
By contrast, Paul reveals what wisdom from God leads you to:
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
So if it is "unwise" to not "understanding what the will of the Lord is" for your life, then how much more wise will you be when you know it and are doing it?! THE WISEST THING YOU CAN DO IS PURSUE GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE. As James said, just ask for it and God will pour it on you: His will for your life will come alive in your heart and you will finally put all the knowledge you have to use. It is time to make it your top priority to find out what your purpose is- what do you like to do? What makes you feel good deep inside? It's time to find your sweet spot. Do you hear what the Holy Spirit within is urging you to do? If not, maybe Christ's Parable of the Talents will wake you up:
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
According to this, each of us has been given something and we are expected to use it to produce results for our Lord that are beneficial for His kingdom. Regardless of how little you think you have to offer, if your involvement is only receiving and not giving to God's work, you are hiding what God has given you. You are like the one who "digged in the earth" by coming up with excuses to do nothing. Through Paul's exhortation and Christ's parable we have the same idea being presented from different angles. There is no acceptable excuse for you not discovering God's will and doing it.
Following his exhortation, Paul continues in Romans chapter 12 to describe the different spiritual gifts through which we express and perform God's will among one another:
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Notice, just sitting around being a thinking man isn't a spiritual gift. If you are white, God has given you something to give back, "according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." AGAIN, THERE IS NO EXCUSE.
There are those who are gifted in "prophecy" or the public proclamation of God's Word, but that's not all. For there are others gifted to do "ministry" which includes doing things behind the scenes and serving others. Of course "teaching" the Scriptures is a gift God gives. But then he mentions how "exhortation" or encouraging others is also spiritual gift. Did you know giving is a spiritual gift? Indeed, there are those who are to "give... with simplicity" or to just freely give without making a big deal out of it, discerning and doing what's necessary to provide for God's work to flourish and continue. There are those "that ruleth, with diligence" or with the gift of consistent leadership. Some have the gift of "mercy, with cheerfulness" who go above and beyond when it comes to helping pick others up who are struggling or have fallen. Do any of these gifts stir your interest? There are even more spiritual gifts listed in Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, but certainly you may find yours is among these. Your interest in and pursuit of spiritual gifts may lead you to finding that sweet spot. So just present yourself by opening up all you have and all you are unto God to know His will.
Maybe you feel like you've been on the sidelines all your life, but now God is telling you to get in the game! Find out what's going on and get involved. The more sacrificial and diligent you become early on, the more joy you will experience when the work you're a part of progresses and achieves success. This ministry is headed in that direction. The more you can invest yourself and get involved, the more fulfilling it will be when the victories come.
Now that you've thought about it in light of these Scriptures, shouldn't discovering and carrying out God's will be the most important thing in your life?! We shouldn't be satisfied until our thoughts and beliefs are transformed into an undying passion to live for God from our hearts. God can help you find that special place, that sweet spot where you can enjoy participating in His work for His glory.
The time has come to start giving back. Forsake all the lazy excuses and simply do His will. Stop floating along through life thinking one day you'll just happen to bump into His blessings. Obey the Word of God and find your purpose.