Let us hear the word, Romans 12:1-2.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Today I’m going to talk about the lifestyle, lifestyle of seeking God’s will. I think that’s a lifestyle, you know, knowing God’s will is not really specifically; what do I eat today or what do I wear? It’s not like that. It is a lifestyle about continuously – every day, every moment – your lifestyle is seeking God’s will. That’s what Christian lifestyle is all about. Christian life is not just what to do, what not to do. Not only that, but a general Christian lifestyle is about; “What is the will of God for me?” So daily you’re searching for the will of God. To me, the most beautiful image of a human being, any human being, is the image of a person praying to God, struggling to search for the will of God. I found this image there, a person praying to God, asking God to show or reveal to me the will of God.
In that sense, the image of Jesus prayer in Gethsemane is to me, the most beautiful image of any human being. Jesus was praying and struggling hard to ultimately search for the will, the will of God, not his own will. That is the most beautiful image that I can think of. But it’s not just Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. What is beautiful about Jesus is that throughout his life all he did was really search for the will of God. You know, what impressed me about Jesus is not that he was so wise and smart and powerful and performed a lot of miracles and ultimately sacrificed and suffered and died… it’s not really that. What really impresses me about Jesus was that all his life he was searching for the will of God. And that is the most beautiful thing, the most beautiful lifestyle I can think of.
In modern days, for many of us, searching for the will of God is a foreign concept. We don’t do that anymore. And also, sometimes it is an uncomfortable concept, because many people did horrible things in the name of the will of God. Even now, there are people who are doing horrible things saying that, “oh, this is the will of God. God told me to do this.” And so that’s why the name, the will of God, got a bad name. We don’t even search for the will, and we don’t even know the will of God. So it’s hard to really talk about the will of God in that way. Many of us gave up living out the will of God. We gave up searching for the will of God. “I’ll do my best with my life, with my morality, with my best effort, I’ll work hard, I’ll take care of my family. I’ll do good, try to do good things as much as possible… But the will of God? I’m not sure. I don’t know. First of all, it’s hard to find out what’s the will of God, and I just don’t know how to go about doing that.” So a lot of us just gave up a the will of God. But you know, Christian life, the will of God is the ultimate purpose and ultimate goal of human life. Ultimately, if it’s not the will of God, what kind of life is that? We’re believers. We do believe that God exists and if God exists, God has something to do with this world, and God has something to do with me, and God must have some kind of will for this world, or for me. So if we don’t really seek the will of God, what is that life? What is that Christian life? All of us, we wonder. So the will of God is the most important ultimate goal of life but in modern days, people don’t care about the will of God. Very sad in a way. Very sad. As I was preparing this message, I was even asking myself, “Will people care about the will of God?” That constantly kept coming to me. “Will people care about the will of God? Then what will I say to them?” In modern society, in the modern world, the will of God has become a very foreign concept.
In today’s scripture passages, St. Paul said, “So that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Hear the words, “so that”. “So that” means ‘ultimately’. You do all these things so that, ultimately, you may be able to find the will of God.
The Will Of God
That was like Paul’s life. Ultimately he was searching for the will of God. He didn’t just live a good life, he was searching for the will of God. His life was not to actualize his potential to the maximum. It was not to become a good example to other people. Paul’s ultimate goal of life was to understand the will of God and live accordingly. That should be what we need to seek every day, the will of God, because that matters. There are things that matter in life and there are things that do not matter that much. The will of God is one of those things that matter a lot, and everything is a means by which you find the will of God. So in life we have to understand the difference between the goal and means by which you achieve the goal. If you get confused with goals and means, your life becomes ruined. If means becomes goal, then your life becomes ruined. We make money but that’s a means, by which ultimately we may find and search for the will of God. That is the goal. There are means by which we achieve the goal, and making money itself cannot be the goal. Becoming a great person cannot be the goal. Or just taking care of family cannot just be the goal. Those are means by which ultimately we search for the will of God, and that is the goal of our life.
When God first came to Moses, “Moses, you go. My people are suffering in Egypt. Go and free them.” And Moses said, “Lord, God, I can’t do it. I’m very, very comfortable here. You know, I have wife and a family and, oh, this life is really, really good. I’m 80 years old, I just want to stay here and finish my life peacefully. And also I cannot even speak well. I’m not eloquent. Can you send somebody else? I think they will fit better. They’ll do a better job than me.” But ultimately at the end, Moses found the will of God and he went. I thank God that Moses understood the will of God. Without, Moses, God’s history would not have continued, and we thank Moses for taking the will of God seriously.
Jesus could have lived comfortably as a nice guy. If he didn’t really care about God’s will, then there is no cross, my friend. If he did not take God’s will sincerely and live out the will of God, we don’t have the cross. We don’t have salvation. We thank Jesus and all others who lived a life of searching for the will of God in human history. They’re great people, great people who were looking for the will of God and lived out the will of God, and they made a dent in the universe. They made a difference in the world.
Search, Seek, Find
My high school friends, from when you’re young, search for the will of God. I wish, I pray that from this church we may produce those great people who make a difference in the world. When you find the will of God, I believe that we can do that. The will of God, you cannot just find it just like that. You continuously search for the will of God and then slowly and slowly you become formed in a certain way, and then you realize when you look back, “Oh, that was the will of God.” It’s not like, “Oh, this is the will of God, do this.” But as you try to really put your life according to the will of God, then your life flows in a certain way, guided by the will of God, and when you look back, you realize that, “Oh, that was the will of God.” And you will do tremendous good to humanity. You will do tremendous good to all of the people around you. What is the will of God? Seek it. Jesus said, “If you seek it, you will find it.” So what is the will of God? Seek it. Don’t give up, and you will find. Knock on it. The door will open to you.
Each person has a unique will of God. I don’t know what is the will of God for you. You have to find it yourself. There is something that you need to do. I cannot tell you what is the will of God for you. You have to find your own will of God. The will of God is not something that you create, or one day be like, “Oh, I’d like to do this. This must be the will of God.” No, that’s not how you find the will of God. You wait and wait and search and search and seek and seek, and ultimately you understand… “Ah, this is will of God.” So when I look at Jesus’ life and when I l look at Paul… wow, they have a power of life. How do they know for sure about what they would need to do and what they want to do? That’s amazing. Most people; “I don’t know, I just live.” That’s how most people, mediocre people live. But these great people, they know what is the will of God and really have a conviction about their life. And that’s what is great about these great people. So search. Seek. And you’ll be able to find and understand the will of God in your life.
Your Path, Your Purpose (Is Unique)
But even though I cannot tell you what his will of God for you, I can give you two kind of helpful attitudes. That’s not something that I got, it is something that Paul teaches us in today’s scripture passage. First thing is, to not be conformed to this world. Do not be conformed to this world. That doesn’t mean that this world is bad and there’s evil and not have anything to do with this world because this world is bad. “Get away from this world and live your own life or go to the gulf or to the mountain and live your own life.” That’s not what he’s saying. To not be conformed to this world means that you don’t get immersed in this world. Don’t get immersed in this world. When you’re immersed in this world, you lose your spiritual sense. You’re filled with this worldly thinking. You cannot have a spiritual sense. You become desensitized to God, to spirituality.
So you become desensitized, you cannot feel the spiritual guidance. And that’s what happens to many, many of us. The will of God is a very foreign concept, so do not be immersed in this world. Sometimes you need to separate yourself and be your own person. Don’t be influenced by your friends. Don’t be influenced by people of this world or think that this is what is life supposed to be about and that this is what life is like – do not just listen to them blindly. Think for yourself, “Is that really what God wants from your life?” It doesn’t matter how many people around you do it. Hundreds of friends, they may do it, but ask yourself, “Is that really what God wants from me?” rather than blindly following them. You need to be awake and you have to know yourself, who you are and what you want, and then find your own way of living. That’s the first thing. Do not be conformed to this world. Don’t try to be popular. Being popular doesn’t last too long. That’s should not be your goal. Don’t try to be popular. Find your own life. Find your own way. That is what it means not to be conformed to this world. It is about your mindset.
Second thing, St. Paul said, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Transformation. How do you be transformed? I think the best way is the scripture. Scripture study. That transforms us. Scripture study, gives us critical thinking. We just started Wednesday Bible study, Women’s Bible Study again. We finished the second week. I already see the difference in the second week. First week I get them together… nothing really. I mean, we haven’t done it for a few months and they’re just… And then second week, they’re getting focused again. We are so fragile. If you don’t study the scripture, it’s hard to get critical thinking.
So I’m sorry, but if you’re just living a religious life, coming back forth, just to church and home, there won’t be much of a difference. You will be just a church person. That’s fine too. That’s fine with me. But finding the will of God that way, it’s going to be very, very difficult. You need to be transformed by the renewing of your minds. In other words, the critical thinking has to go on in your brain every moment. Every single moment, your consciousness needs to be enriched by the word of God. The word of God is not just memorizing the scripture. It’s the way you think, critical thinking, because as you study the scripture, you see how different that teaching is from the teaching of that world when it was written. They all had critical thinking.
We need to understand that to be able to discern the will of God. The will of God is not what popular people or most people follow, okay? Just because majority of the society follow a certain way, I don’t believe that that is the will of God. The will of God is not determined by the multitude. Jesus was a lonely voice. Paul was a lonely voice. That’s why they were persecuted, and ultimately they were killed. But that lonely voice is a beautiful voice. That life is beautiful life, I believe. And I’d like to see that kind of real, cool people. You need to be tough in your thinking, in your mind. Searching for the will of God, living out the will of God, that’s the goal. That’s the most beautiful thing you can do for yourself, for your family, for the church, for the world, and for God.
Let us sing together.
Let us have a moment of silence and meditation and thinking. Have you lived blindly or mindlessly? Something in this world… did that take that mindfulness away from us and make us spiritually paralyzed, and emotionally paralyzed, and we just become mindless and blind? Let us pray. Lord, give me the sense of living. Give me the sense of searching. Our ancestors, they searched for the truth. They searched for justice. They searched for life. In the modern world, people have become paralyzed and we don’t search anymore. We don’t seek any anymore. We just live and live and live mindlessly and blindly. Let us pray, so that God may empower us and restore that searching spirit within us.
*more praise music*