God, What Do You Want From Me?
Do you want to follow God’s will for your life? To go where He leads? To live in the peace of knowing you’ve gone exactly where He’s asked you to? Doesn’t that sound wonderful? And, yet, here we are wandering through this life, feeling a bit like the Israelites in the wilderness, asking ourselves, what does God want me to do?
I’ve been in that wilderness so many times my dusty sandal straps are dangling off the side and my head is spinning from seeing the mirages of what I thought God wanted me to do. Please tell me you’ve been there too? If I’m going to wander the metaphorical wilderness, I at least want to think I’m in good company.
Maybe we can cry out together, God, what do you want from me? What am I supposed to do here?
In Romans 12:2, Paul gives us some guidance, a rough map of sorts, as we wander through the wilderness of decision-making and God-following.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world.
Just because “everyone” says it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it’s God’s will for you. People might tell you it makes sense. They might explain the logic and encourage you to follow it. But people aren't God. Their ways are not always His ways. In fact, from my experience, God often calls me to the exact thing the world would deem crazy. But we’re not aiming to please the world, are we? We’re looking to please our Lord, to be obedient to whatever it is He is asking us to do.
So . . . we must be transformed.
I’m a word nerd, so I notice the verb used here: it says we must BE transformed. We are not told TO transform, indicating that this switch from earthly focus to eternal focus is something we can achieve on our own. No, we are told to BE transformed, that teeny-tiny helping verb indicates that the transforming is something that is done to us.
Who does this transforming? The Holy Spirit, living inside us, speaking to our souls. Jesus told His disciples He would send an advocate, a helper, the Spirit of truth to be with us forever and that we would know Him because He would live with us and be in us (John 14:16-17). It is that Spirit of truth who will transform us. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior and surrender our lives to Him, the Holy Spirit creates our new hearts and transforms us . . .
By the renewing of our minds.
His guidance speaks to our souls and our minds, helping to renew them with a focus on God’s will and not the world’s expectations. We feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as He whispers to our hearts.
You know that voice. It speaks through the thoughts that enter your mind without your awareness or permission. Those moments when you have an idea, a thought, a feeling about what you’re supposed to do but you can’t figure out where on earth it came from. Because that idea, thought, feeling didn’t come from earth, it came from Heaven—that little piece of Heaven living in your soul named the Holy Spirit. He will renew our minds and point us in the direction God wants us to go.
It is that presence of the Holy Spirit that helps us to test and approve God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Some translations use the word discern rather than approve—our transformation and renewal allow us to test and discern (or recognize) God’s will.
Suddenly, our wandering turns into walking in the right direction. Our path may be a slow and meandering one, but because of the Holy Spirit, we will be headed toward the place God is leading.
So when you're wandering in the wilderness of a looming decision, please remember you're not alone. God wanders alongside you, His Holy Spirit living within you, the Savior who redeemed you with His own blood leading you toward an eternity prepared for you.
Do not conform.
Renew your mind.
And then you can test and approve God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Now, fix the straps on your sandals and take the first step in obedience toward what He has called you to do . . .