Don’t Try to Change God’s Mind
Prepared by Dr. John Marshall
Romans 8:27a And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set,. . .
Paul previously stated (v. 26) the Spirit is so moved by compassion for us that He intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be uttered. His sympathy pains cannot be expressed in words.
The Holy Spirit desires what is best for us. His requests for us do not necessarily have to be verbalized because the Father, who knows our hearts, also knows what the Spirit desires for us. The Father is able to translate the unutterable feelings of the Spirit.
Evil people fear God’s omniscience, but Paul saw it as a consolation to believers. God interprets the Spirit’s mind in order that He might bless us.
God searches our hearts to determine what our needs are. His love interprets our desires and gives us what is best for us. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we cannot verbalize our needs. All we can do is wait before the Lord and inwardly ache. Our problems can be so difficult at times that no other person can sympathize with us, but God knows. He senses our feelings. Words are not always necessary when dealing with God.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to confess we do not know God’s will for a situation. Yield our mind to the Spirit. Trust Him to guide our prayers.
Romans 8:27b . . .because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit always asks according to God’s will. Therefore, leave room for Him to plead in our behalf. His requests are always granted.
Do not try to change God’s mind. He loves us more than we love ourself, and knows what is best for us. In prayer, try to conform our mind to be in agreement with His mind. We must acquiesce to His will.
Come before God in a proper spirit. Ask, seek, and knock, but do not try to ramrod God. Come before Him, but do not bully God. With thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God, but do not demand.
Let God control us. It is dangerous to badger God about a matter we do not have Scriptural assurance is God’s will. He will sometimes grant our request in order to teach us a lesson we were unwilling to learn otherwise.
Pray without ceasing for God to have His way in our life. When uncertain as to what we should pray for in particular, change our train of thought to dwell awhile on what we can pray about with certainty.
We may not be able to resolve every perplexity of our heart, but there are matters we can consider with definiteness. Spend more time praying about things we know without doubt are God’s will: for example, increased faith, greater hope, more love, salvation of the lost, praise, and adoration.
I do not mean to discourage us from prayer. We all need to pray more, not less. We should feel free to tell God what we are feeling and wanting.
My intent is to help us pray in a proper spirit and attitude. What we ask for often is not as important as how we ask for it. Make sure we are more concerned about doing God’s will than about having our requests granted.
At this point, we might ask, “If the Spirit intercedes for us, why do we still have so many afflictions?” The next verse explains.
Romans 8:28a And we know that for those who love God all things
work together for good,. . .Our groanings, afflictions, and sufferings for Christ are worked together by God for our good. We view our tribulations as detrimental; we are wrong. God has a different perspective from which He sees our troubles.
Only His wisdom can determine what is good for us. When Jesus was transfigured, Peter wanted to stay on the mount forever. Peter had good intentions, but his plan was not in agreement with God.
The Lord knew what was best, and sent Peter down the mountain to work. God was obviously right. Peter later preached at Pentecost, healed the sick, and raised the dead.
Paul was convinced he should travel into the provinces of Asia Minor with the Gospel, but the Spirit did not allow it (AC 16:7). Instead, Paul received the Macedonian Call, which led to the spread of Christianity into the metropolitan centers of Europe.
God knew what was best for Peter and Paul. The same is true of our lives. The Shepherd knows which pasture is best for the sheep; the parent knows what helps a little one most; the physician prescribes what is best for the patient. Our role is to submit to the desire of God for our lives.
God’s will truly is the best for us. This truth can more easily be illustrated than it can be adequately explained. Jesus hesitated before the cross, but crucifixion was the only road to resurrection and glory.
The church’s darkest days have been hard, but have produced some of the Lord’s brightest jewels. The saints at Jerusalem were persecuted; many fled. This caused the message of Christ to be spread abroad.
John was banished to the island of Patmos. While there, he received his vision of God and Heaven.
Luther, for his own protection, was kidnapped and held in a castle against his will. This incarceration inconvenienced him, but made possible his translation of the German Bible.
While a student at Andover Theological Seminary, Gordon Hall was asked to preach at Braintree in view of call as pastor. The day before he was to go, he was splitting wood, and his hat accidentally fell under the axe and was cut in two. No respectable preacher would appear in public without a hat, but Hall had no time to buy one. Hall asked a friend to go in his place the next day. The friend went and preached. The people loved the substitute preacher and eventually called him as pastor.
Gordon Hall was disappointed, but God had allowed what was best. Hall turned his attention to the foreign mission field, was ordained alongside Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson, and spent his life in India. By the way, his friend remained pastor at Braintree for over fifty years. God was obviously at work achieving what was good in both of these men’s lives.
After graduation from seminary, I wanted to come to a church in St. Louis, and preached a trial sermon at one of the churches in that area. At the time my salary was $137.50 a week in Mississippi. The St. Louis church offered me $325.00 a week, plus I would have been able to purchase my own house. All of this, coupled with my desire to live near parents, made me think I was on the verge of Heaven on earth.
After my trial sermon, the youth of that church spent the next week speaking against me. The total vote was 63 yes, 22 no, one negative vote too many to reach the three-fourths majority required for a call. God was in this. Had the vote been 63 to 21, I would have accepted the position because I wanted to go so badly. God in His mercy spared me that error.
The rejection allowed me to stay in Mississippi a while longer to minster full-time to the church that had allowed me to go to seminary while serving as their pastor. Also, that rejection sent me a little while later to another church, where I received my education in church growth, and where I met two men who later become fellow staff members.
Be grateful God controls our lives. Nurture a submissive spirit. Long to be clay in the Master’s hand. He alone knows what is best for us.