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the profound improvement in the lives of his readers. They have become people who are actively involved in expressing their hope through loving others and through communicating this same hope, giving the gospel to those who need it.

Because of your faith and love and the thankfulness I feel, I pray for you.

Do you pray for the people you are thankful for?

What does Paul pray?

It is important to notice that the next sentence in this passage is very long. This is the way Paul wrote. In some translations it is broken into shorter English sentences, because that’s the way English is written. But Paul wrote in long sentences.

Long sentences are good for expressing and showing the relationships between very complex ideas. In order to understand a long sentence, we have to go over it slowly and break it down. What is Paul praying for? He is ...

asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will

When Paul asks for this he asks for God to do it in a certain way:

in spiritual wisdom and understanding

These are thinking words. Paul wants the Colossians to be smart, not just intellectually, but spiritually. This is an important distinction, because a person can have knowledge. He can memorize an encyclopedia, but that does not mean he understands what he knows.

He can have an understanding of it. He can know Einstein’s theory of Relativity. He can even understand it so well that he knows how to make a hydrogen bomb. This does not make him wise.

A truly smart person:

• Has facts (knowledge)

• Has understanding (knows what the facts mean)

• Has wisdom (can foresee the implications of applying his mind to certain situations and exercises it with moral integrity).

Hitler had knowledge - he knew genetics, he even had understanding - he could motivate people with his facts using psychology

But he was not wise.

Paul wants the Colossians to have all three.

What is the point behind being truly, spiritually smart?

When we are truly, spiritually smart, we have the ability to please God. We become people of high value.

This sounds bad because everyone has the same intrinsic value. We are all made in God’s image.

But are we worthy of it?

The short answer is no. We sin, we are fallen. But we can be worthy of it, not by any effort of our own, but by God’s grace. That is why it is a matter of prayer for Paul. When we are invested with value from God we gain the ability to please Him.

All guys know what this means. We have all been in the position of wanting to please a woman of whom we were unworthy. We may want to buy her a gift.

So we draw on our vast experience and the advice of other people to know what kind of gift is best:

• It should not say the wrong thing

• It should express something about how we feel

• It should say something about how we perceive her

The problem is usually that we go about this first gift with too little information. We don’t know what she likes or what makes her smile. We are not the best person to be buying her a gift. We are not that likely to completely please her with the present.

The main thing that can change the situation is if she gets us up to speed. She sits us down and explains that she doesn’t actually like the brand of perfume we bought because it gives her headaches and hives. She, instead, gives us a list of her favorites.

By paying close attention and using the knowledge she gives us with understanding and wisdom, we can please her and, ultimately be worthy of her. Well ....

Anyway, Paul is praying that the Colossians will have the opportunity to please God and to become, by His grace, worthy of Him as He reveals to them more and more of His will.

What does a person do who is smart about the will of God as it is revealed to him or her?

She does good deeds

This seems to go without saying. Those good deeds will not save a person. They don’t make a person worthy of God. It is the natural outgrowth of doing the will of God.

What are good deeds?

In this spot, Paul doesn’t say. It apparently goes without saying. He calls it bearing fruit, so it may be related to what he calls in another place, the fruit of the Spirit:

• You will be loving

• You will be joyful

• You will promote peace

• You will be patient

• You will be kind

• You will be "good"

• You will exercise faith

• You will be gentle

• You will be self controlled

Any deeds that are the outgrowths of these attitudes and dispositions are "good" deeds. is this you?

She knows God better

We did not just come full circle. Paul wants his readers to know God’s will so that they can pursue knowing Him. What is the difference?

In the movie Wall Street. Michael Sheen plays against Michael Douglas. Douglas is a hard-hitting venture capitalist, rich, ruthless and aggressive.

Sheen is a wannabe. He wants to work for Douglas, He wants to know what he knows. He wants to be rich and powerful. But in order to do that, he has to get close to him.

So, he brings him a box of his favorite Cuban cigars and some valuable inside information.

Here’s the point. He knows what Douglas wants, so he uses that information to get close to him so that he can learn more about what makes the man tick.

He does what the man wants

So he can get close to the man

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