Summary: An exploration of how we can know and live God’s will based on Colossians 1:4-14 and Psalm 73.

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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.

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