Summary: An exploration of how we can know and live God’s will based on Colossians 1:4-14 and Psalm 73.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what God wanted you to do in a particular situation?
Have you ever found yourself doing what you thought was right only to see it apparrently go all wrong?
Are you growing and learning what it means to do God’s will or do you find it all to confusing?
When Paul was writing to the Colossian church, we know from the beginning of the letter that Paul was writing to a group of people who had already demonstrated the reality of their faith in Jesus Christ. And I am certain that if the Apostle Paul had had the reason and opportunity to write a personal letter to this church, he would have said the same thing about you.
We always thank God, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints
But Paul had also heard that some people were seeking to take these Christians “captive through the teaching of a hollow and deceptive philosophy” a philosophy which depended “on human tradition and the basic principals of this world rather than on Christ.” So he was concerned they be confident in their faith and in the sufficiency of Christ to save them now, and for eternity. We are not sure exactly what this teaching was but there have always been many other philosophies, religions and teachings around which seek to distract Christians from their faith.
How many TV adds can you think of that are trying to sell you something, maybe a car or insurance or a weight-loss program or cosmetics, that will solve all your problems and make you a happy and confident person? How many of our books, movies and TV shows portray the perfect job or the perfect loving human relationship as the answer to all our needs? And how many different religions do we have available to us as forms of worship? Christians today are in just as much danger of having their faith in Christ destroyed by hollow and deceptive worldly philosophies as they were in Paul’s day.
So what does Paul pray for to keep these Christians safe?
For this reason,
says Paul, the reason of their clear active faith in Christ
since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will
At high school, I had a sports teacher who was very good at teaching people how to do things. One day my sports class was in the gym and a good friend of mine, Pam, was on the big trampoline. I was standing waiting for my turn when this sports teacher came up and offered to teach Pam how to do more than simply jump up and down. And Pam enthusiastically agreed. So she stood beside the trampoline, giving Pam instructions and taking her through a series of steps that lead up to Pam being able to do a mid-air summersalt.
It was really quite amazing to see how knowing the right instructions made it easily possible for Pam to progress. And then the sports teacher made the interesting comment that she had only ever learnt the theory, she had never actually done it on a trampoline. Our teacher knew the theory but only Pam knew the trampolining as only she had actually done it. And it is the sort of knowledge that Pam had, the knowedge that comes from being actively involved, that Paul is praying for here for the Colossian Christians to have of God’s will. It is not a theoretical knowledge but a knowledge in which the believer is a participator in and perfectly united with God’s in His will.
Let me say that again,
Paul is praying for these Christians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in such a way as to make them doers of God’s will, perfectly united with God’s will. And by asking that they be "filled" with the knowledge of God’s will Paul emphasizes that this knowledge is to fill all of them --thoughts, feelings, imaginations, purposes, and plans. Paul is praying that they be united with God in every way. This is the knowledge that will take us onto the trampoline of life, jumping beside and in unison with God.
So exactly how does Paul say they can be filled with the knowledge of God’s will? How does Paul say Christians can be perfectly united with God in his will? Firstly says Paul it happens
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10
When Steve and I went to Germany to live, I didn’t know any German, and I knew so little about what it was like to live in Germany that I set out to live there with what I now see as an unbelievably naive optimism that was close to sheer stupidity in its ignorance. Sure I’d seen Germany on TV, and I’d had a good friend who was German, and I knew that the boss I was going to work for was American, and I knew that many Germans could speak some English, but what I did not know was just how different living in Germany actually was. And it began from the moment we landed. We were surrounded by people speaking German, all the time, and for me it was about as useful as being surrounded by a flock of squawking galahs. And day by day I came up against things which were done differently in Germany. Little things, like learning how to use the automatic ticketing system for the trams And then there were the big differences, like when you rent an apartment, it has no floor coverings, no light fittings, no built in kitchen (as in no cupboards, stove or sink or anything in the kitchen). And renting a furnished apartment was simply unheard of. Indeed there were so many differences that it came close to being too much for me and at the end of six months I can remember thinking, “Don’t they do ANYTHING like us (Australians)?”