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Summary: Knowledge of the Gospel, love for others and prayer are the keys to coming to know God’s will for our lives -- then we must act on it in order to please Him.

Being Smart about God’s Will

Love and wisdom; God and you

Colossians 1:9-12

The Colossians had experienced hope. The Gospel delivered to them had presented them with the promise of the kingdom and that promise had given them hope, which in turn gave rise to active faith and love. This faith and love were more than mushy spiritual feelings, they were profound movers in their lives, causing them to behave toward others in certain ways.

So when we come to Paul’s statement "For this reason," he is speaking of 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.

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