Meditations in Colossians: 16. The Knowledge of His Will
Col 1:9 For this reason, 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 through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Now we looked at the subject of the will of God in the very first meditation in this series because Paul opened this letter with, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (v.1) He was able to say of himself that he was an apostle because that was God’s will and God had brought it about. So now it’s like he says to the Colossians, “I want you to have this same assurance about knowing God’s will for your lives.”
In that first meditation we considered some general aspects of the will of God and said that, at least, in Scripture there is a strong sense of God knowing and God going ahead of our lives, plotting them out for u, to make them the best that they can be. We also noted that it appears that He wants my cooperation in brining about His will in my life; it’s not just something He will force into my life. We also said that He points us in the right direction by His Holy Spirit when we surrender to Him, a direction that He knows will be the very best for us, the individual, and a direction that will be most fruitful and bring most blessing to His people.
What we did NOT do in that first study was outline specific things that are the will of God for ME. Yes, this has to become personal; this is not about generalizations, this is about how this specifically works for me as an individual Christian. We will look at what it means in the next study, when he speaks about spiritual wisdom and understanding but for the moment let’s consider three areas of my life as a Christian today. We will consider me as a person, the relationships I have, and then the activity that He might lead me into.
First of all, me as a person. God’s will is that He wants me to know who I am and what He has done for me. God’s specific will for me is that I will no longer be a wanderer who is unsure of themselves but that everything I think, say and do in the future comes out of the assurance that I am a redeemed child of God, adopted by the Father through the work of Jesus on the Cross. I am washed, cleansed, forgiven, righteous and holy, and am indwelt by His Holy Spirit. I do not have space here to justify all of these statements but they ARE true as the New Testament testifies. This is God’s will for you. The starting question: are YOU sure of these facts, so that you are secure in who you are, as God has made you?
Second, me as I relate to others. None of us live in isolation. I recently saw a TV program about a family that had relocated on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. The couple had three young sons, one of whom was now reaching adolescence and wanted something more, and so they decided to send him to boarding school back in the UK. What stood out from that situation was how that isolated life is so alien and how this young man was going to have to adapt when he came back to a country full of people. No, we live in a community, whether you consider it to be the church or the local town, village etc. and there we have to relate to other people.
And there, when we became a Christian and started reading our Bible, we came to realise there was a tremendous amount about relating to other people. At the heart of it is that you have received God’s love through the work of Jesus, and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit and, as we have noted previously, if “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16) then love is the primary characteristic of His Spirit within us, and all He wants to express through us is an expression of love. That takes us back to meditation number 8 about ‘visible love’. We have a lifetime to study what the New Testament means when it instructs us to ‘love one another’ and a lifetime to work it out in practical everyday terms. This is God’s will for you. Question number 2: are you consciously working on that aspect of your life? Remember, it is God’s will for you.
Third, God’s activity through me. We might call this service or ministry but as we go on we’ll see Paul’s reminder that God wants us to be fruitful. We’ve already noted in this series a verse that always stands out to me as of major significance for us: “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10) The outworking of our salvation is not that we just sit back and wile away every day until we get to heaven, but that we receive His guidance and His gifting to enable us to do the “good deeds” (Mt 5:16), which are simply the things He gifts us to be able to do to bless the church, bless others and bless Him.
Just a reminder of what we said in the previous meditation and quoted above, that whatever He leads us into will be the direction that He knows will be the very best for us. We will feel most fulfilled when we are doing the things He leads us into. We will be most blessed when we are working out these things in and though our lives. This is God’s will for you. So, question number 3: have you opened your heart in full availability to Him and said, ‘Lord, please take me and use me to bless others’?
And to come back into context, remember that Paul says he wants the Lord to fill is with the knowledge of these things which, we saw in the previous meditation is all about abundance that overflows. May that be so for each of us.