Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: The Perfect Will of God

I recently finished reading a book by G. Christian Weiss called, "The Perfect Will of God." I highly recommend you find this book and read it. Although published in 1950, it is quite relevant to Christians today.

Many of us have read and memorized Romans 12:1-2. We are quite familiar with these verses: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

In chapters 6, 7, and 8, the author proposes that just as one must use steps to get from one floor to another in a house, so must we take steps to get to the center of God's will for our lives. He presents from Romans 12:1-2 three preparatory steps to arriving in God's will.

Step 1: Surrender

"...present your bodies a living sacrifice...that ye may prove what is that...perfect will of God."

"All that we are, all that we have, all our desires, plans, affections, choices, sentiments, likes and dislikes, must first be fully and finally surrendered to God in utter submission before we can know what His will is, and what He desires and requires of our lives...It is one thing to say you surrender, but quite a different thing to genuinely do it in actual experience...

...This utter surrender of one's whole life, body and soul, time and talents, is a personal transaction between the soul and God, culminating in an utter yielding of one's own selfish will to God as a result of the Holy Spirit's inward probing and working. It is between you and God alone; no one else can be in on this; the closet door must be shut, the shades drawn; you surrender your will to God's will, your soul and life to God's desire and disposition. There is no way to side-step or by-pass the altar of sacrifice if you would walk in God's court and minister in His sanctuary in accordance to His will."

Step 2: Separation from the World and from Worldliness

"And be not conformed to this world...that ye may prove what is that...perfect will of God."

"It must be stated in all truth and frankness that God does not reveal His specific will to worldly Christians. They are not in a position worthy of His will. They are not ready for it.

Why must a Christian be denied the privilege of knowing the divine plan for his life just because he has a love and weakness for some of the things and ways of the world? The answer is quite clear. They are not prepared to know God's specific will by virtue of the fact that they are not disposed to do His general will as revealed in the Bible for all Christians.

What is actually meant by, 'Be not conformed to the world?' At least three things are certainly meant.

First: We are not to conform to the World's Pattern, or Principles. The worldly pattern of life is one of selfishness, sinfulness and sensuality. The world's principle of life is materialism, greed, and lust...

The will of God has eternal values in view; the worldly pattern embraces only material values.

Second: We are not to seek or indulge in the World's Pleasures. Hollywood has largely set the pace for the world's pleasures. And what pleasures they are! Hardly a popular pleasure in the land today is untainted by sin, sex or smut of some kind.

Third: We are not to set our affections on the World's Possessions. Sometimes older or better taught Christians severely criticize younger and less enlightened ones for clinging to worldly pleasures, while they themselves are just as guilty of worldliness in the eyes of God by clinging to worldly possessions...How many a Christian young person, and older one too, has missed the path of God's will because he is tied up to worldly possessions and bound by a lust for wealth. Such a person is not in line for further manifestation of the will of God; he is already digressing, yes, transgressing that well...

How much Worldly Conformity there is today, in all three of these directions! And it is such an effective stumbling block in the way of God's will because people are not aware of its presence. The stone the traveler does not see is the one he is surest to stumble over."

Step 3: Spiritual-Mindedness

"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...that ye may prove what is that...perfect will of God."

"What is really meant by the 'renewing of your mind?'

Our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our entire spiritual lives, must constantly be refreshed by dwelling in Christ's presence and feeding on His Word...The will of God never be known to carnally-minded Christians; He will only make it known to those who are spiritually-minded and whose lives are transformed by constant occupation with the things of the Spirit. In order to have spiritual understanding there must be in us a spiritual frame of mind. The whole tenor of the life must be spiritual. There must be a daily, constant walk with God through prayer and the searching of the word. It is in this way alone that our lives will be renewed, refreshed, transformed, and we shall be "conditioned" to receive the knowledge of His will...

Here then are the three steps: Surrender, Separation from the World, Spiritual-Mindedness.

It has been the writer's experience and conviction for a number of years, that only as we walk in close and constant fellowship with the Lord, definitely and directly communing with Him through prayer and the Word, can He communicate the knowledge of His will to us. Thus we are forced to the conclusion which has already been propounded that knowing God's will is not so much a problem of the intellect as it is a problem of the heart and life."

Later, in chapter 12 of the book, the author summarizes:

"To make it simple and as practical as possible, test, try, prove the will of God for your life, by asking yourself six vital questions, based on this and the preceding five chapters of our book:

First, Have I utterly surrendered my will and life up to God as a living sacrifice, and is my heart so surrendered now in everything?

Second, Have I renounced the world in every known form, and is my life now fully separated from it?

Third, Have I been walking in true and close fellowship with God as I have contemplated this, and is my heart engaged in such fellowship at the present time?

Fourth, Is this thing I am now contemplating according to the Word of God, or expedient in the light of the Word?

Fifth, Has a deep impression been placed on my heart in this direction, which persists with the passing of time, and deepens within me as I pray and seek the mind of God?

Sixth, Do the circumstances that surround my life point in this same direction?

If these questions can honestly and earnestly be answered in the affirmative you may be assured of knowing the will of God."

"The Perfect Will of God" was an incredible help to me in understanding my Christian life and relationship with God. I trust that these portions of the book have spoken to you as the book has to me, and I hope that I have spiked your interest enough that you will want to read the whole book. May you be surrendered to the Lord, willing to do anything, separated from the world in every aspect, and spiritually minded. Our Christian life is by definition, our relationship with God. Never forget that, and walk closely with your Master, always watching to see what He would have you do next.

You can find this book for sale here.

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