Christianity, born thousands of years ago, can at times seem an antiquated religion. In today's modern age, in which the sky no longer limits us, and the complexities of life entangle our souls, it is ever more difficult to decipher God's plan for us. However, Pastor John Piper presents us with an astute insight into how we can continue to recognize and apply God's volition to our daily lives.
Piper asks us to turn to Romans 12:1-2 to discern God's intentions for us Christians, which read: "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 be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
From this passage, Piper points out that "Those who believe in Christ Jesus are already ... new creatures in Christ... But now we must become what we are." He tells us that to do so, we must "discern what is the will of God," and that God's will is in essence a two-part decree: God's "Sovereign Will," and God's "Will of Command."
The first meaning of God's will comes from his divine providence over all of creation. His "Sovereign Will" refers to the fact that everything that happens in the universe has been planned and pre-determined by God. We, therefore, have to understand and accept God's sovereign will and plan for us before we can understand how to further carry out the second component of his will. Piper also explains the importance of recognizing "that [God's sovereign will] includes the sins of man." And thus we must recognize that "God wills to come to pass some things that he hates" but that "it is better to suffer for doing good if that should be God's will."
Knowing that the second aspect of his will is God's will of command, and it is this will which we can disobey. As stated in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Piper explains that we can, therefore, follow this will by reading the scripture and following the commands and lessons presented. Both components of His will are therefore precious to us, providing us both with "the assurance that God is in control and... that God empathizes with us and does not delight in sin or pain."
As Piper explains, we, therefore, have a duty to try to uphold God's Will of Command, the only part of His will we have any control over. And to do so, there are three stages of application that we must realize. The first stage is to use our "renewed mind" as referenced in Romans 12:1-2 to "understand and embrace what God Commands in the Scripture." Once discerning the "revealed Will of God" in the bible, we can implement stage two of applying God's Will "to new situations in life by means of a renewed mind." Then finally, there is what Piper refers to as stage three, in which we "Immerse [ourselves] in the written word of God; saturate [our] mind with it. And pray that the Spirit of Christ would make [us] so new that the spillover would be good, acceptable, and perfect - the will of God."