To Know God’s Will

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

–Colossians 1:9 NIV

Paul said he never ceased praying for the Colossian Christians, and he prayed for three specific things. First of all, Paul prayed that they would know the will of God. He wrote in Colossians 1:9, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (NIV).

God has a plan for our lives generally and for your life specifically, and it is the key to experiencing joy, fulfillment, and contentment. How do you discover what that plan is? The starting place for knowing the will of God is knowing the Word of God. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It is impossible to apply God’s Word in your life if you don’t know God’s Word. In Hosea 4:6, God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” You can never know God’s will apart from God’s Word.

But knowledge alone isn’t enough to know God’s will for your life; Paul said you also need “all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9 NIV). Wisdom refers to finding the principles from God’s Word that apply to our lives today. Let me give you an example. Colossians 4:1 says, “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” You could research what slavery was like in Paul’s day. You could do word studies and learn that “justice” means to compensate adequately and “fairness” means to treat everyone using the same standard. But that knowledge does you no good unless you can find the principle that applies to you today. So what’s the principle? If you’re an employer, you have a duty to pay your employees adequately and treat them equitably. That’s wisdom.

In Colossians 1:9, Paul used another word that is key to finding God’s will for your life: understanding. In other words, once you know the principle, how are you going to apply it to your life? In our example, you might say, “My employees are underpaid. I need to give them a 5 percent raise,” or, “I’ve been overly harsh with one of my employees. I need to be more evenhanded in my treatment of that person.” That’s what it means to have understanding.

Notice Paul said wisdom and understanding are given by the Spirit. God’s Spirit and God’s Word work together to reveal God’s will to us. That was Paul’s prayer for the Colossians.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Perfect Prayer” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org; Scripture quotation marked (NIV) taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

 

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