Following Jesus means being transformed—changing—progressively becoming more like Him. Dealing with the sin of lust is a good example of how this works. Anyone who has struggled and failed when it comes to lust and then later enters into victory over it knows what this is like.
A fascinating and important byproduct of this transforming process is that it “proves” God’s will.
Who—you may ask—are you proving this to? Are you proving it to God? No. He is on top of everything.
Are you proving it to those close to you or others you come in contact with? Probably not—the process is mostly hidden and private.
Instead—you are proving it to yourself. That is the point Paul made when he wrote:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (KJV) (Romans 12:2)
The skilled King James Version translators got it right. Some newer translations do a disservice, substituting words like “know” and “discern” for “prove.” The NIV reads “test and approve,” but where else is God described as looking for our approval? It just sounds weird to me.
Paul wants you to “prove” it. God wants you to “prove” it. Are you proving it?
I will illustrate this concept of proving with the example of a great hamburger:
- Theoretical knowledge. You watch a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV episode featuring Hodads and the making of what appears to be a great burger. However, not having tasted it you can’t be sure.
- It becomes a real possibility. You realize that Hodads is not that far away. You go check it out. You see others going up to the counter, buying and scarfing down. You drive by and around but you don’t stop. You can smell it but the time is not quite right for you—maybe later.
- You do it. You break down and buy that hamburger. You bite down and let the juice run down your arms. You taste and prove to yourself that this great burger is indeed all you hoped for. It is perfect.
The burger in this illustration stands for that “good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” He desires to transform you by the renewing of your mind.
Don’t window shop God’s will. Jump in. By obedience, experience freedom from sin and the progressive transformation that He intends for you. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
When we reject the ways of the world, experience transformation, have our minds renewed, and see God do new things in our lives, we gain assurance beyond any doubt that God is at work.
We recognize that God’s desire for us—that we present ourselves fully to Him (Romans 12:1)—is not an abstract theory. Instead, our inner, powerful transformation acts as proof positive of His will as an effective defining and refining agent for change.
Are you overcoming lust and thus proving God’s will in your life?