Learning to Discern His Will (Rom 12:2)

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.

11 thoughts on “Learning to Discern His Will (Rom 12:2)

  1. I am so totally printing this one out to be able to really “chew” it well. Thanks Meghan!!!! It ties together several things that are still in process for me. 🙂

  2. I love this, Meghan. Thank you so much. I just took a Streams course…(John Paul Jackson) this summer called the Art of Hearing God. This is right in line with that. God only reveals to us as much as we want Him too. In our seeking we uncover more and more of His treasures just waiting to be unlocked. He is so kind and gentle…usually things don’t just fall kerplunk into our lap….yep, we need to step out and He meets us right where we are at.
    Awesome!!!

  3. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. Two weeks ago Thursday, I had a horrible day at work, ( i wont go into details, lets just say I was hysterically crying for over 7 hours, something I have never done, ever in my life) and I went home completely exhausted. We have a worship dance ministry that meets on Thursday evenings of which I attended despite being exhausted and as I left this is what happened over the next 24 hours: Friday was my day off from work and I was whining to the Lord, please Lord, if there is some other way for someone else to handle the food ministry let it be… Quickly, I repented and said I was sorry and would go fulfill my obligations. As I left my house that dark early morning, I realized my husband had left our bicycles in the back of our truck which was locked and he had the only key. Secretly I was thankful. I texted my friend who runs this ministry and she said we would have to miss the pickup for this week, as there was no one else to go.

    I decided since I was up to have breakfast and get caught up on some HGTV (guilty pleasure). I fell asleep on the couch and woke up FIVE HOURS LATER. Yikes! I knew I was exhausted from the entire day and night before and I figured I could push through the morning with the Lords Help.

    I quickly got up and realized I totally missed the entire food ministry and that I needed to get a blood test done. So off to the lab I go. I get there and Its just me and the Lab Tech. Right away, after checking in the Lord just begins to speak to me and give me words of encouragement for this lady. I find out she is a Christian and we must have spent an entire 90 minutes sharing God’s Word with each other. I walked out of there on FIRE. It was awesome.

    So off to Ross Dept Store for a little shopping, im just walking around and I see this lady in the purse aisle and the Lord says to me, “tell her that purse is for her”, I think, What? I dont think so, God would not tell me to tell this lady that I dont even know that that purse is for her. I immediately dismissed the thought. I didnt get two steps away from her and she began to speak to me and asked me, “what do you think of this purse”. What? How could she? I cant believe this. I begin to rant and rave and tell her the following, ” Ok lady, im just saying that the Lord told me to tell you that the purse you are holding is for you. Its beautiful against your skin”. And now I feel completely retarded telling you that the Lord said that. She was astonished. I was disappointed in myself.

    Immediately I began to apologize profusely for discounting the voice of God and she immediately began to share with me about how she needed to be reminded to ask God if she should purchase something for herself. We shared with each other for around 5 minutes or so. When I walked away, I stopped in the next aisle, dropped my head and confessed to the Lord, He immediately chastised me and said, “who are you to tell me what I can say and cannot say, my ways are not your ways saith the Lord and my thoughts are not your thoughts.” I know Lord, and I am sorry, I know you use the foolish things in this world to confound the wise. Today you used me. I felt so retarded. So ashamed, but I immediately received Gods grace as left the store.

    Time to focus on the grocery shopping. Nope. Not a soul was safe in the produce aisle. God’s Word just kept rolling from my mouth, I was literally a cracked pot that could not contain God’s Word to myself. Again, I felt myself getting embarrassed, and asking God, why cant I stop giving out Your Word? I need some help here. I need some self control. Thank God for His Grace. You would think I would know what is going on after serving the Lord for over 30 years.

    So I get home and prepare for my evening bible study and I get the opportunity to share this story with everyone, except that Im not really sure if I should because I dont feel that I have learned everything that God wants me to learn from this situation. But this time, I wasnt going to question God, if I have to leave this story open ended I will. God is telling me to share this, so Im going to just do it. Its what Im used to doing, trusting God is easy for me. So I begin to share this story and as I near the end of it the Lord says to me, ” Now that you are empty of all of who you are, I can finally use you to show others who I am.

    The room was silent, tears were in peoples eyes, everyone looked at each other and no one said a word. It became very clear, that we all needed to be emptied before the Lord. We all need to be reminded that this isnt our ministry, it is His ministry be worked in us and through us. And we need to be reminded that Jesus wept.

    So yes, Meghan, I understand when you say, “I’m following the same voice that’s told me to other things – often illogical things,” I know that my God will never leave me nor forsake me, I know to trust HIm even when things dont look or sound like we think they should.

    I have learned that being consistently persistent and steadfast is mirroring the One we serve. I also learned that doing what we are called to do (Food Ministry) is a whole lot easier, than preaching, exhorting, teaching, humbling oneself, etc… than handing out a few bags of food to a hundred people. I know not to be a complainer or whiner anymore. I also know that I fulfill the will of the Father when I bare one anothers burden. Im thankful for the provision He has given so freely and richly and I know my Source is never ending, never failing, always triumphant.

  4. And with our track record of hearing His voice, He also gets a track record of wether we will obey or not. It is pretty humbling when you know God trusts you with a task because you have proven yourself to be obedient. God is so good to do what needs to be done and allowing us the privilege of being a part of it. Thank You Jesus for Your mercy and grace when we mess up and Your reward when we finally get it right. Thanks for never giving up on me. I will never give up on You.

  5. I so needed to be reminded of this good word. I know it my journey I have been caught not willing or scared to practice those discernment skills He has given me. Thank you for the gentle reminder that our God wants what is best for us.

  6. Much needed. ‘Spent half of my prayer time completely confused about how to pray for some things and thinking to myself, “You know the problems…situations, God…tell me what to pray.” I want to think the way He thinks and I SOOOOOOO fall short…seriously needing a renewed mind!

  7. Test it… I love it. As our church started out searching for Gods direction we began to practice… that’s what I called it. But really it was testing it… if we thought he gave a word to do something, we did it. Right or wrong… testing to see… or practicing. The things that began to happen where awesome… but we would have to step out side our selves.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this word. “TEST” I just love it. God has truly been teaching me and streching me in many directions in the last few months. It has been hard, but he gave me a word a about a week ago “press in no matter what”. Things around me may not feel or look right, but it is ok. God knows the direction and he will guide me.

    Thank you Lord for teaching me your ways, not my ways. Lord I pray that my heart is like your heart, let me see through your eyes. In Jesus name, Amen

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