Early in my Christian life, a minister told me he had figured out how to discern and do the will of God.
"I just try to determine what I don't want to do, and do that. I can be pretty sure that I doing God's will when I'm doing what I don't want to do."
I recall even as a young believer being dumbfounded by such a notion. Many years later, with a bit more Scriptural experience and understanding on board, I shudder even more at the thought of such a patently unbiblical notion.
"It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
What do believers really want? The aforementioned gentleman would suggest that sin is our true delight. The Apostle Paul rather testified of "delight in the law of God" as the inclination of his "inward man" (Romans 7:22). Such yearning for faith and obedience results from Paul's corollary affirmation of the Lord's working in us "to will and to do." Boil a born again Christian down to his essence and that which remains is the Holy Spirit united to a redeemed human spirit, with the Former motivating desire for the glory and will of God in the latter.
Within our fleshly faculties and members, however, a "law of sin" exists that elicits desires contrary to the will of God and the aforementioned delight for it in our innermost being (Romans 7:23). Moreover, this part of us easily presents itself in our senses and consciousness:
"I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members… the flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Romans 7:23; Galatians 5:17).
Note Paul's admission about the law of sin: "I see." That is, we are very aware of the contrary impulses and thoughts of our flesh. Often, however, we do not so easily perceive "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" that indwells our spirits. Such perception involves the trust that believes what may not readily present itself to our field of awareness - "We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). The aforementioned minister lived by the obvious movings of his flesh, believing them to be his truest desires. He did not know, or chose to reject the truth he couldn't "see" regarding the "delight" for obedience to God that dwelled in his inward and spiritual person. He lived according to His senses, as opposed to the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Is God working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure? His Word declares that He is, and we must believe such Truth to be true regardless of anything that may seem to counter the Bible's declaration.
Let us join Paul in his affirmation of God's redemptive grace concerning our deepest inclinations: "I delight in the law of God after the inward man… so then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God" (Romans 7:22; 25). Thereby we will more and more live in accordance with the truth and reality of the "new creature" God birthed when we trusted in the Lord Jesus (II Corinthians 5:17). We shall live as the swans we are, as opposed to the ugly ducklings we were, discovering the power to overcome the lusts of the flesh because we realize our Lord's joy to be our own…
"I delight to do Thy will, o God."
Weekly Memory Verse
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.