What does God want from your spiritual life?

When I was a new Christian, I was never sure what the goal of the Christian life was. I remember going to an evangelism course and hearing that evangelism was the only reason we were here. I wasn’t convinced. Not all of us are gifted evangelists, though we all need to do it. Fortunately, as I later discovered, the scripture is clear about what Christ calls us to after salvation. Here is a quick survey of a few passages of scripture that make this clear.

What is God’s will for my life?

Lets start by asking the old question: What is God’s will for us? According to 1 Thess 4:3 it is our sanctification. What is sanctification? In simple terms, it means to be set apart and fit for a specific use. In the case of Christians, the Lord wants to use us so we need to be fit or prepared for this use. Since God is Holy (1 Pet 1:14–16), righteous and pure, we are to be set apart and fit for Him to use. When Jesus prayed for those who would follow Him, he prayed that the Father would “sanctify them in the truth,” adding “Your word is truth.” It is the will of God and the desire of Jesus that you and I are sanctified, or holy.
It is the will of God and the desire of Jesus that you and I are sanctified.

Not Your Own

In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us “to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” The main idea here is a sacrifice, which means it is to be given up. Paul uses three words to describe the sacrifice of our bodies – living, holy and pleasing to God. Note that the word holy here is the same word we found in 1 Thess 4:3. So our bodies are to be a sacrifice to God, not a dead sacrifice, but a living one, in which our lives are to be set apart and pleasing to God. Paul calls this reasonable or rational worship. Later, Paul would put say, “you are not your own… For you have been bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:19–20).

Pleasing to God

The concept of pleasing to God is carried into several other passages. Paul’s prayer for the Colossian believers was that they would be pleasing to God (Col 1:9–10). Similarly, it was his own goal in everything he did to please God (2 Cor 5:9). This alone sets us apart from the world since our sin nature (flesh) makes us self-centered or self-pleasing. If God is holy and happy, He is pleased by holiness. This is an amazing encouragement: that you and I can be pleasing to Him. In Christ this is joy and goal.

Not like the world

Since we are to be holy as God is holy, we cannot stay the same as we were before we were Christians. Peter said “do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance” (1 Pet 1:14). The former lusts (desires) are our enemy since they defile us and disfigure the image of God in which we were created. Therefore, when we belong to Christ, they must be brought into subjection to Him (2 Cor 10:5). Why? Because we are to be holy like the holy one who called us (1 Peter 3:15–16). Paul told the Romans, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies so that you obey its lusts” (Rom 6:12). Then he went on to say that “Sin shall not be your master… having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom 6:14–18).
The former lusts (desires) are our enemy since they defile us and disfigure the image of God in which we were created.

Like Christ

To sum it up, God predestined[1] us to be conformed to the image of His son. God’s purpose in saving us was to make us like Christ. Which is to say, we are to take on more and more of His holiness, or His being set apart for the purpose of the Father. The one thing God wants every Christian to be, is to be more holy, more like Jesus Christ in character. It is simple, but difficult.
How has the pursuit of holiness resulted in joy for you?

  1. The Greek word here (and elsewhere) translated “predestined” is the Greek word προορίζω, which comes from the Greek word “to bound” “to set limits” (ὁριζω) combined with a preposition (προ) that means before or beforehand. Hence the meaning is “bounded beforehand.” This is functioning in this sentence as a transitory verb and the object or direction of the verb is to be “similar in form to the image of His Son.”  ↩
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