I have heard this passage preached on, quoted, and have seen it hanging on signs in people’s houses. For a time, this was even my theme verse for life. But I have never noticed a specific phrase at the end of the passage-
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
We all want to know what God wants us to do next. Whether its a job, relationship, missions trip, etc. We pray, “God show me the big picture and I will follow you there.” But that is not how God works.
He operates on faith not sight. So rather than lay out his whole plan for our life, he asks us step by step to follow him. And when we show ourselves faithful by taking a step towards him, then he faithfully shows us the next step.
Had God told Abram he was going to ask him to sacrifice his son when he called him out of Ur, do you think Abram would have trusted and followed through on it? Had God told Gideon he was going to go to war with an army of 300 verses a army that could be counted, do you think Gideon would have trusted and followed him? Had God told Stephen he was going to be stoned to death for his faith, do you think Stephen would have trusted and followed him?
God guides us step by step. And when we are faithful with the little things, then he gives us more. Then when we are faithful with that, he gives us even more. And on and on it goes (Luke 16).
However, as a person born into a sinful flesh, taking steps of faith directed by an unseen God is not a rational step. It causes us to doubt what we feel God is leading us to do. Or doubt that what we feel is actually God at all. And this doubt leads to inaction and this inaction leads to us NOT knowing or living inside the will of God for our life.
So we live our life asking God “what is your will for my life? What do you want we to do? Why can I not hear you?”
And even when we think we hear the will of God for our life, we fear messing up so we step back and question, “is this the will of God for me,” rather than stepping forward and following him. But this only keeps us in a place of questioning the will of God for our life. We grow confused and stagnant- eventually paralyzed in our walks with God.
So how do we know what the will of God for our life is? We become a living sacrifice- giving up our fleshly desires, rather than conforming to the world. This allows God to transform your mind and how you rationally think about your life. Then, when we allow God to transform our fleshly, rational mind into a ‘worshipping God with your life mindset,’ “Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”