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. (Romans 12:2, NIV)
I first came across this scripture when I read the book, Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. She recommended that we “think what we are thinking about.” She suggested that the best way to change our lives was by improving our thoughts.
A few years later, I led a Bible study based on the book by Barb Raveling, I Deserve a Donut (And Other Lies That Make You Eat). She believed that we could transform our lives by changing our minds.
I totally agree, and have no issue, with the truth of the statement that we can be transformed by renewing our minds.
But it’s the second sentence that tripped me up:
“Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.”
I thought we weren’t supposed to put God to the test. Both Moses and Jesus tell us in the Bible not to test God.
But through further study, I’ve learned that to test and approve God’s will is a double process. First, to test is to decide what God’s will is. Then to approve is to choose to act upon it.
Test God’s Will
To test God’s will is to look at life differently and ask what He wants. Testing is accomplished through a series of trials, seeking after what is a good and acceptable use of our life for His purposes. Similar to testing a metal by putting it through the fire we are to explore and investigate God’s will.
Approve God’s Will
To approve God’s will involves both knowledge and application. After recognizing it as genuine and deeming it worthy to pursue we are to pursue it. Once we discern the right course of action we are to take it. When we submit to God’s leadership in our life, He promises to lead us and show us His will.
A renewed mind is essential to testing what is God’s will and choosing to do it. Once we submit our minds to God we’ll have a growing awareness of, and ability to practice, the will of God.
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