lead us not only to know the truth
but to act upon the truth
that will set us free.
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. 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.
(Romans 12: 1-2)
After eleven solid chapters, in which the apostle Paul outlines his understanding of Christianity, he declares what is required in responding to God’s gift of Jesus. In the first paragraph, this statement appears, “…so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The will of God is not intended to be kept a secret. It is God’s hope that we might discover and enter into it. Furthermore the will of God is not a bitter pill to swallow. On the contrary, it is described as “good and acceptable and perfect.” Wrapped up in these three descriptors is the truth that discerning and entering into the will of God for our life will lead to a state of well-being and groundedness.
Glenn Hinson tells of taking some seminary students on a field trip to a monastery in the hills of Kentucky. His primary purpose was to help these history students become aware of the communities that developed in the Middle Ages, not to learn about a life of prayer. The host, Thomas Merton, gave the class more than they expected. After talking about the rise of the monastic life, Merton asked if there were any questions. One student asked a question that Hinson feared the most. The student inquired, “What’s a smart fellow like you doing in a place like this?” Hinson said that he expected Merton to respond in anger or frustration that he’d not been heard, but Merton responded very simply: “I am here because this is my vocation. I believe in prayer.”
Can you hear Merton’s sense of goodness and acceptance? When we live out our vocation we can experience a similar anchoring in the midst of questions and doubts about our fitness or the usefulness of what we are called to do.
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Meditate upon this appeal and then make your response.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Ponder what is being asked of you and write about your formation.
Selecting a Souvenir
Lead us merciful God, beyond the talk and theory of belief to actually engaging our faith in you and experiencing your power to transform our lives. Lead us into the certainty and rightness of knowing that we are doing your will. Amen.
in the fellowship of God the Father,
and as you go, remember:
in the goodness of God
you were born into this world;
by the grace of God
you have been kept
all the day long,
even until this hour;
and By the love of God,
fully revealed in the face of Jesus,
You are being redeemed.
Copyright © 2007 Geoff Pound Making Life Decisions
Glenn E Hinson, Spiritual preparation for Christian leadership (Nashville, Upper Room Books, 1999), 151.
 This was a much loved benediction of Dr. John Claypool (1930-2005), a Baptist and Episcopalian pastor in the USA. Source: Crescent Hill Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky. Web Address: http://www.crescenthillbaptistchurch.org/oldsite/claypool.htm