I have a question on God’s will. Romans 12:2 and many other passages suggest that doing God’s will can be pleasant, pleasing and perfect, yet It was incredibly hard even for Jesus to do God’s will. Also there are many passages that suggest that doing God’s will entails suffering and hardship. How do we reconcile the seeming contradictions?
I believe you are somewhat misunderstanding Romans 12:1-2. This passage is not saying that it is pleasing to US when we do his will. It is good and it is pleasing to God when we do his will. It is not always pleasant for US when we do his will, at least in the short run. It was not pleasing and a really fun time for Jesus to offer his life for our sins, to be ridiculed, tortured and crucified, but he did it. Please do not assume that when we give our lives as a willing sacrifice (Romans 12:1,2) that this is a whole lot of pleasure and fun at the time. In fact, giving our lives is quite the opposite, at least at the time. Sacrifice is not easy. By the way, the sacrifice being referred to in Romans 12:1-2 is the sacrifice of burnt offering in Leviticus chapter one. Paul definitely has this sacrifice in mind as he writes Romans 12:1-2. In the burnt offering the entire animal is offered as a gift to God. It was not a sacrifice for sin, but it was an offering, and a “sweet smelling offering” (Leviticus 1:17). It is an offering that “smells” good to God. It pleases him when we offer our full selves to Him.
So, I see no indication in Romans 12:1-2 that the offering of our entire lives to God is “pleasant”. It is pleasing, but pleasing to God, not to self to offer ourselves to Him. In the long run, if we do his good, pleasing and perfect will, it will be satisfying to us as well, as doing our Father’s will makes us fulfilled and satisfies our need to love him and to be loved by him, but there is no indication in Romans 12:1-2 that it is fun and pleasant to offer this sacrifice. There is no contradiction here. In fact, your request for an example of doing God’s will involving suffering and sacrifice is found in the example you gave. Giving our lives as a “burnt offering” to God is difficult. It is challenging. It can involve physical and emotional pain and suffering, but it is good and pleasing to God.
By the way, Jesus also gave his life as a “burnt offering”, in a manner similar to Romans 12:1-2, as indicated by Ephesians 5:1-2. He not only gave his death, he also gave his life to his Father. I am sure that this offering caused suffering in Jesus’ life as well.