Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
At some point, every Christian struggles with the question of God’s will. What is God’s will for my life? When the question arises, it usually is focused of some very specific decision that needs to be made. Should I take this job or that job? Is it time to make a major move? Should I get married? Who should I marry? How should I handle my finances? What is God’s specific will for my life?
All of these (and many others) are important questions with which to wrestle. God wants to play an active role in all of the decisions that we make in life. But I think that we often put our focus in the wrong place. Specific decisions, like what job should I take, are secondary to the bigger question. Who am I becoming? When it comes to God’s will, it is more about who we are becoming as a person, than what we are doing. The doing is important, but it needs to flow out of the becoming.
The world puts its emphasis on doing. People are judged by the job they have, the car they drive, the house they live in, the influence they exert over others. The pattern of the world is all about getting ahead, succeeding, beating out the other guy, grabbing all the gusto you can get. Paul tells us that we need to start thinking in a different way.
In a nut shell, God’s will for every person is that we would become more and more like Christ. God’s will is that we would think like Christ and then act like Christ. God’s will is that we would be changed from the inside out. When God sent Samuel to anoint a new king for Israel, Samuel was impressed by the outward appearance of David’s oldest brother. But God had a different perspective. But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
God cares about the circumstances of our lives, but He is far more concerned about the state of our soul. Who are we under the surface? That is really what matters to God. Who we are under the surface will guide and shape all of our decisions. When we are striving to bring our character in line with Christ, we will have discernment to make the outward decisions of life. In Colossians 3:17, Paul writes, And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. What we do is important, but how we do what we do is more important to God. God has given us much freedom to choose our path in life. In many cases, one pathway is just as good as another. The more important issue is how we will glorify God by what we do.
We all struggle with God’s specific will for our lives. As we strive to align ourselves with God’s general will for all believers, we can have more confidence in discerning God’s specific will.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.