Proving and Approving

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2

“I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ…  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 1:6,9-11; 2:12b-13

It is the way of man to want to understand everything ahead of time and have things proven before we proceed. I won’t do this blindly, show me this will be worth it. But the way of faith is setting out and doing in confidence of its worth and that it is right, trusting the One who calls and enables. It is by offering ourselves in obedience and serving the Lord that we test and thusly approve God’s will, working out and proving our faith. Righteousness comes through faith and depends on faith. (Philippians 3:9,12-15a,16; 4:9; Hebrews 11:1)

What keeps us from proving God’s ways and approving His will by action? If faith is putting into practice what we’re taught and called to implement, what fears, doubts, lazy attitudes, false interpretations, or selfish wants hold us back? God’s commands often go against human grain, but they present opportunity for us to yield to His will being done instead of ours. Exercising the muscles of relinquishment and renewal is the very method of spiritual growth. The Lord does not abandon us to travail on our own, but strives with us, working in us both the desire and the effort required to His ultimate ends. (Luke 22:42)

The key to our ability to test and approve God’s will is God-centered worship that lays down my life and renews my mind. Less of me, more of Him. Cease to strive, yield to His work in me. This our Savior did to perfection, making the way that we might too. What He finished on the cross was the impossibility of obedience, and that accomplishment became our means of living by faith. Will we step forward and walk through the gate He opened, trusting not only that the way will become clear, but that its clarity increases step by step? (John 3:30)

“And shall I pray Thee, change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be. 
Rather, I pray Thee
Blend my human will with Thine.” ~Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

Lord, bid me keep walking forward with You. May I faithfully test and so prove Your good, pleasing, and perfect will to Your praise and honor.

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