Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but 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
Recently, I listened to a friend tell me that she had stayed in a destructive relationship far too long because every time he wanted her to come back, she felt like it must be God's will. Now, from my vantage point, that seemed unlikely, but it is interesting how confused we believers get about "God's will". Paul clears it up a bit in Romans 12. When we are conforming to the patterns of this world, then sorting out the will of God can be a bit murky. And maybe it is because the patterns of the world include counter-biblical notions like immediate gratification, self actualization, the lusts of the flesh, vanity, deceit, envy, and such. When we allow ourselves to be wooed by the world's thinking, it becomes increasingly difficult to "test and approve" the will of God because we are holding so tightly to the world's validation, rather than God's validation.
So God calls us to a renewing of the mind, where the shadows and fog start to fall away and the vision of His will becomes clearer. And make no mistake, His will for our lives is good and pleasing and perfect… and can I add "peaceful"? He would never lead us in paths that cause us to compromise His truths. Reading through the rest of this chapter, we see His truth includes a call to meekness, which brings to mind an A.W. Tozer quote. "A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,... he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over." What a fabulous way to live!
Further along in this chapter, He calls us to function in our giftings. He calls us to sincerely love, be devoted to one another, honor one another, be joyful in hope, be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. He spurs us on to generosity and hospitality and blessing and peacefulness. He instructs us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.
And ultimately, this passage ends with an exhortation to overcome evil with good rather than be overcome by evil. It only takes a thin shaft of light to overcome darkness, so let us be that piercing light of goodness!
Do you truly want to know God's will for your life? Then start by creating space to allow your mind to be renewed by His truths, rather than giving so much mental energy to the world's lies. His desire is that you are able to recognize what is, indeed, His good and pleasing and perfect will!