It’s always fun to find a great “other half” to a highly-quoted scripture. Frequently the other half unlocks some new revelation of the well-known portion. For me, today’s scripture is an example of that. It comes from Romans 12:2
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.
Most have likely heard the portion about not being conformed, but the second portion – which talks about how that renewing is achieved – is not as familiar, probably because it’s not quite as happy a thought! It says “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God”. In other words, if you want to be able to discern God’s will you MUST test it.
Other translations interpret this word “proving” – it is the Greek word dokimazo. Here’s a bit more on what it means:
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
What this means is if God tells you to do something that doesn’t make sense to your logical brain, one may “test” by doing it and see the fruit it bears. So often when people talk about not being able to hear God’s voice it has far more to do with an unwillingness to follow the voice they believe to be God unless it “makes sense” – therefore they don’t “test” it and fail to learn to discern God’s will.
The problem with their line of reasoning is clearly shown in 1 Corinthians 1:27
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God loves to work through things that “make no sense” – it’s how He is glorified! Because when we are weak, He is strong. So we have to be willing to allow God out of our “God box” that dictates what “we” believe He would and should do and simply follow His voice thereby testing to see if it is His will.
It is breaking this “God box” that removes the conformity to this world that the first half of the verse is talking about. The world is who taught us “God would never tell you to do X” and so we store those lies away. God renews our mind and breaks off this conformity by teaching you – through your own choice to “prove” Him – that He absolutely will do “X” sometimes! Lol – He’s God! He will not be put in a box.
I can say I see this principle at work in my own life. As God has continued to stretch my husband and I, often I’m asked how I “know” it’s God who has told us to do this. The answer to that is simply I’m following the same voice that’s told me to other things – often illogical things, things I was even mocked or rebuked by fellow believers for doing – things that when proved showed to be right by their fruit. So through my being willing to “test” God’s will, I now have more confidence when following Him. Basically there’s now a track record.
I will warn you though, God is ever growing us though, which means the testing becomes more difficult – more at stake – the further you go. But you will have your past experiences to encourage you on in those moments.
The need for the track record is why God will often not move us as quickly as we’d like Him to. It’s in His mercy that He does so – knowing that the encouragement from past successes is vital to our future persistence that will lead to victory.
My prayer is that you be willing to step out – prove Him. That you not have fear but remember that His plans for you are good. And also remember that if you are doing something fully believing it’s His will, even if it turns out you’re wrong – He is able to rescue you and use the experience for good. Even hearing wrongly teaches us to discern 🙂 Thankfully, there is grace in the process.