I’ve always been intrigued by the way Paul describes God and His will in Romans 12:2. Paul writes:
Do not conform 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.
Other versions describe God’s will in the three ways using the words, good, acceptable and perfect. I’ve often wondered why God’s will would be described in these three different ways.
I see them now as a progression of deeper connection to God. First, we must come to believe that God’s will is good. The world defines God’s will as unprogressive. We are seeing this reality even within the church. It is not God’s will for us to have sexual relations before marriage. Yet, it is less common to find a couple seeking marriage in the church who are not living together or having sex. These couples do not believe that God’s will is good. God is not trying to keep something good from couples; rather He longs to give couples the ultimate good possible in a married relationship. It’s not natural to deny sexual intimacy until marriage, but it is good. It helps the couple get to know each other in other ways so that the sexual union after marriage becomes the icing on the cake. In both of my marriages, I have trusted that God’s will regarding premarital sex is good, so I obeyed Him rather than follow my natural instincts or the permission given by the world and some parts of the church culture.
After trusting that God’s will is good, time after time, you can begin to grasp that God’s will is acceptable or pleasing. This requires deeper faith and trust in God. It was totally unacceptable for me as a wife and mother to have my late husband pass away suddenly after 27 years of marriage. I could never have planned for that for myself or my children. I accepted it as God’s best for Brian and did not contend with God. How can I contend with God when His will is far beyond my understanding? I accepted God’s will and in so doing I felt peace to move forward in my life without my husband. I accept that God’s will is pleasing to God and that He is pleased when I accept His will. Sometimes it is God’s will for us to accept the unacceptable and trust that we are pleasing God in ways that we do not understand.
As I learn to believe God’s will is good and move towards accepting the unacceptable with God’s peace, then I begin to see how God’s will is perfect. No one was completely comfortable with my reuniting with a man I almost married thirty years ago, and getting married four months later. This is where only hindsight reveals how God’s will is perfect. After our marriage my friends and family witnessed me walking through an unbelievable trial with my husband by my side. They all praised God that I did not have to walk through that trial alone. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have survived without my husband to cling to through it all. Though neither Paul, nor I, could have orchestrated what God did, we both agree that it is a perfect solution to both of our brokenness. No human being would have matched us at that time, only God knew how perfect we are for each other. God’s will is perfect even in the midst of messy situations.
My peace comes from believing that God’s will is good, acceptable (pleasing) and perfect. I hope you learn this lesson about God’s will.