The Will of God (Romans 12:2)

As a pastor, I get a lot of questions and one of the most common ones is: “How can I know God’s will for my life?” This is a good question to ask as it indicates a desire to follow God and to live a life pleasing to Him. In this sermon, we shall consider this question more closely.

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The Will of God Defined 

What is the will of God? The Greek word for will is thelēma. God’s thelēma refers to what God desires and/or has determined shall be done. In the context of the question at the beginning of this sermon, it is what God wants/desires for your life. Paul told the Romans that the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2). It is that which God has determined is pleasing to Him. Being pleasing to Him, He calls for it to be obeyed so that it resounds to His glory and leads to human flourishing. With this definition, we may safely conclude that God’s will for your life is to be a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. Based on Matthew 4:19, A disciple is someone who: 1) follows Jesus, 2) is being changed by Jesus, and 3) is committed to Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost.

The Will of God Demonstrated

God’s will for you is to be a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. How can we prove that? Look at the testimony of Scripture. Remember, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” RC Sproul helpfully articulates it for us: “God’s will for each of us is that we grow into spiritual maturity, that our lives become more fully set apart and consecrated by the Holy Spirit, and that our minds are changed.” The answer to the question: “How can I know God’s will for my life?” is always “To be a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.” Paul makes this even clearer in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 when he says “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” 

If this answer seems too simple, consider what Paul wrote in Colossians 4:12: “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greeting, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” When we speak of the will of God for our life, this is something that we should be fully assured of. As mature disciples, the Bible says it is the will of God that we: 

  • Give ourselves in service to God and others (2 Cor 8:5).
  • Work wholeheartedly for the good of others and for the glory of God (Eph 6:5-6). 
  • Abstain from all sexual immorality (1 Thess 4:3).
  • Give thanks in all things (1 Thess 5:18).
  • Avoid the lusts of the flesh and live holy lives (1 Peter 4:2).
  • Do what is right and silence foolish men (2 Peter 2:15).

We are also told that it is the will of God that:

  • His will be carried out on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).
  • Whoever does the will of God is a member of Jesus’ family (Mark 3:35).
  • The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints (Rom 8:27).
  • Christians receive the promised salvation after enduring (Heb 10:36).
  • Christians live forever after the world and its lusts pass away (1 John 2:17).

The Will of God Discerned

The answer given above is simple, but it gets more confusing when we drill down a little bit. For example, you may be thinking: “That’s great, pastor, but that’s not really what I was asking. In other words, how can I discern God’s will for my life in the everyday aspects of life? I want to live a life pleasing to God; so, how do I do that in regards to my employment, housing, relationships, etc.” These are great questions to ask and can only be answered when we start from the perspective of being a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. Then you may be able to discern His will for your life as you: Pray, Stay, and Obey.

Pray (without complacency)

The most important step in discerning the will of God is to pray. James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting” (James 1:5-6). Ask God to reveal His will for your life and believe that He will give you the wisdom you need. As you pray, seek counsel from godly people in your life. Don’t give up. Persist in prayer.

Stay (without complaining)

As you pray, stay where you are and be faithful where you are. This does not mean that you cannot make any change, but that you are committed to staying faithful to do what God already has you doing. Rather than worrying about what you could be doing or think you should be doing, recognize where God currently has you and be obedient. Don’t complain but remain faithful. Note: if you are in sin or a sinful relationship/situation, cease immediately. It is never God’s will for you to sin.

Obey (without compromise)

As you pray and as you are obedient where you are, obey all the commands God gives you. If you discern that God is moving you to another job, ministry, etc. obey immediately. Do not disobey God because you are nervous, scared, fearful, etc. Be open to God’s direction and seek counsel from godly people in your life. God works to confirm his commands through the Holy Spirit, the Scripture, godly people, and circumstances. Don’t compromise with God; obey God. Place your “Yes!” on the table and obey all that Christ commands.


How can you know God’s will for your life? First, live your life with the primary aim to be a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. Second, pray for God to give you wisdom (James 1:5) and to guide your steps (Prov 3:5-6). Third, be faithful where you are. Fourth, obey all of God’s commands and say yes to His call in your life. If you want to know God’s will for your life, make sure your life is fully surrendered to God. Remember that we are in a relationship with Jesus and He cares for us greatly. Trust Him. Trust that Jesus knows what is best for you and what is best for the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33).

Published by First Baptist Church of Scott City, MO

Bringing the love of Christ to a hurting world.

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