When it comes to doing what pleases God, there are two major hurdles you need to overcome—the ‘want to’ and the ‘able to’. Relinquishing your own plans and embracing God’s will doesn’t come easily. Your old fleshly nature wants what it wants, not what God wants. And even when God’s will is clear, and you want what He wants, you lack the necessary ability to do it. Fortunately, that’s where God steps into your dilemma by working in you to give you the ‘want to’ and the ‘ability to’. But the willingness and the capability both come from Him, not you. You ask, ‘Since God is working in me, why is there such a struggle to know and to do His will?’ The problem is, your natural mind is self-centred and tends to resist God’s will. So what’s the answer?
(1) Surrender your body and its appetites to God. ‘Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.’ (Romans 12:1 NIV)
(2) Renew your mind. ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:2 NIV) In the original Greek, ‘renewing’ means to be ‘inwardly renovated’ by aligning your thoughts with God’s—to intentionally think like He thinks. In other words, God initiates the ‘want to’ and the ‘ability to’, and you cooperate by aligning your mind with His. When that happens, you can be confident ‘that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.’ (Philippians 1:6 NIV)