In my travels, I see people who think of themselves as “non-conformist” spending a lot of time, money, and effort conforming.
Non-conformists are alike
Teenagers often conform by dressing in black, tattoos, piercings, etc. In our 30’s and 40’s we often conform by seeking luxury goods. We feel unique without realizing millions of others are doing the exact same thing. Seriously, do you really think carrying a YSL handbag that costs $2,400 makes you sophisticated, elegant, or unique? A few over-weight middle-age marketing guys using models that look like death camp survivors to sell their products will disagree with my point.
Romans 12:2 “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.”
Which brings us to proving what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Some folks think about the “The Will of God” in a magical sense. They ask God to show them if they should take one job or another, go on vacation to one place or another, etc. But before we get all magical let’s look at what Romans 12 says.
Verse 3 “to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly”
The Will of God is for you to not think so highly of yourself.
Verses 4-5 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
The Will of God is for you to realize that you are part of the Family of God, that you have a unique purpose, that you have a unique gift. So what’s your unique gift? Start by asking a few elder members of the Family of God. Verses 6-8 go into some of the gifts that are present in the Family of God.
Verse 9 Let love be without dissimulation (pretending). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
The Will of God is for you to really love, do good, hate evil.
Verse 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
The Will of God is for you to be kind and preferring others before yourself.
Verse 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
The Will of God is for you to WORK HARD, be PASSIONATE, and serve the Lord where ever you are.
Verse 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
The Will of God is for you to rejoice in your salvation, don’t whine when trouble befalls you, and keep talking to God.
Verse 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
The Will of God is for you to help those in the Family of God who have needs, to have folks over to your home for dinner.
Verse 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Now the Will of God gets harder. We are to bless those that treat us poorly.
Verse 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
The Will of God is to celebrate the victories of others and mourn their losses.
Verse 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
The Will of God is to seek agreement with others in your church. Don’t focus things that sound impressive. “Condescend to men of low estate” means focus on outreach to the poor, the addicted, those with problems and mission trips to countries in need. Don’t be caught up in your own amazing intelligence, position, status, or wealth.
Verse 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
The Will of God is to avoid payback. The Will of God is that you are honest and carry yourself in a way that other people view you as honest.
Verse 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
The Will of God is that you live in peace, except for the John McDonald exemption clause “as much as lieth in you.”
Verse 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The Will of God is that you leave judgment up to God and don’t take matters into your own hands.
Verse 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
The Will of God is that you treat your enemies with kindness.
Verse 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Will of God is that you are transformed by overcoming evil with good and to not be conformed by allowing evil to overcome you.
So when you need to know what the Will of God is on any particular decision you can run through that list and know if you are acting within the Will of God. Is your decision compatible with your God given gifts, are you able to be effective, are you passionate about the decision, etc.?