God’s ways are above our ways. Unless we understand that part, we will never know when we are living out His will for our lives. Not that I am ever absolutely certain that I am doing God’s will, but I have become comfortable with doing the best I can to follow the direction I think God is showing me. He is, after all, so far above me that I doubt I will ever absolutely know His will.
What I do know is that I want to live my life in the center of God’s will. I don’t always do that, but it is the utmost goal of my life. Anything else is a waste of time. I want my life to matter, so the best way to live a life that matters is to figure out what God wills for my life and do what He shows me. The problem is in knowing God’s will. There is one part that is vital to knowing God’s will. Paul told us in Romans 12:2a:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
You can know what the will of God is not: it is not according to the pattern of this world. If you never do things that are outside of the pattern of this world, I doubt that you are living out God’s will for your life. In fact, I had a professor who said the easiest way to find God’s will is to think about what you want and do the opposite. He said it in jest, but it is partly true. God’s will won’t be in the pattern of this world.
The rest of the verse explains more about identifying God’s will. Romans 12:2b says:
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If what you are doing is good from God’s perspective then you will be able to identify how it is best for you, best for others and best for God. You can’t be conformed to this world to see God’s will as good.
The second experience of seeing and doing God’s will is that you will feel a sense of delight. You will be pleased that you followed God even if it causes personal loss from the world’s perspective. In my experience, I have struggled to obey God because I can’t see what He sees. There are times I question and resist obeying what I sense God is asking me to do. It might seem trivial or an unnecessary detail. Yet, after I obey and see the results I feel a great pleasure and relief that I did what God asked of me because there were ways it worked out for my best that I could have never understood at the time.
Lastly, God’s will is perfect. Other translations use the word acceptable to describe this third quality of God’s will. God’s will is perfect, yet we are not perfect. Sometimes the best we can do is to accept that His will is perfect. There are hard parts of God’s plan that must be accepted. His will is perfect, mysterious and opposite of what we think. I’ve found that I can only live it out when I accept that His will is perfect and beyond my understanding.
If you want to live out God’s will for your life begin by getting your mind straight and letting go of the things of this world. Want God more than you want this world. Obey what you sense God is leading you to do even if it seems, trivial or hard or you can’t see why He would want that. It is in doing God’s will that you are transformed from the world and begin to see that His will is good, pleasing and perfect.