Summary: Seeking god's will begins with our learning to think as God wants us to think. From Epaphras' prayer for the Colossians we learn how we need to go about renewing our minds in order to stand firm in all the will of God.
Paul shares with the Colossians that their brother in Christ, who was sent to minister to Paul in prison, Epaphras, was “wrestling in prayer” for them that they might “stand firm in all the will of God.”
What did Paul mean by “all the will of God?” He was saying we should seek to be in God’s will in every aspect of it, like our home life, social life, work life, financial life, relational life, church life, etc. Seeking God’s will for every aspect of life is essential to living life on purpose.
One thought that’s helpful as we think about the various aspects of God’s will, is that God’s will for our lives can fit into one of 3 areas:
1) The viewpoint will of God - what would God have me think?
How God wants me to think is important because how I think will determine how I act.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” - Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)
2) The operational will of God - what would God have me do?
What does God want me to do about managing opportunities, time, relationships, money, talents or career? All that I have in life is on loan from God. He is the owner, and I am the manager. So it makes sense that I should seek to know what He says about how I manage the details of my life. The Bible word for this is stewardship. How I manage the details of my life will determine where I should be.
3) The geographic will of God - where would God have me be?
Where would God have me be with respect to my career, my education, my church, my marriage, my family, my eternity? The answers to these questions come as I’m faithful to manage my life as God directs me, which I will be enabled to do as I think as God wants me to think.
Every aspect of God’s will for my life will fit into one of these three categories. But notice where it all begins. It begins with our thinking as God wants us to think. That will lead to my doing as God wants me to do and being where God wants me to be. If my thinking is consistent with God’s will, then so will everything else.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” - Romans 12:2 (NLT)
But how do I learn to think as God wants me to think? The prayer of Epaphras give us the answer.
1. We must seek to be fully mature.
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” - 1 Corinthians 14:20 (ESV)
God wants us to grow in maturity through the use of His Word.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” - Hebrews 5:12-14 (ESV)
In describing a new movie, a critic wrote, “The plot moves rapidly down the sewer.” Such is the case for each of us when interacting with our culture. Many things presented by our culture for us to think on rapidly move down the sewer. And to make things worse, as Dave Ramsey points out, we are living in the age of the most marketed to generation ever. Wouldn’t it be nice if the mind was equipped with a garbage disposal, like your kitchen sink? We could flush away the falsehoods and filth our minds are daily bombarded with and not be affected by it. Well, the Word of God is that garbage disposal! The more we expose ourselves to the truth, the more we can discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14), rejecting the evil and embracing the truth.
Interacting with the Word of God is something we should devote ourselves to everyday. For, as someone once put it, “The biggest room in all the world is the room for improvement.”
While none of us will ever be able to say we’ve “arrived,” we should be ever “striving to arrive” at full maturity, like Paul.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” - Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)