One of the major problems we have in consistently choosing the will of God is that often we do not know what His will is. Ignorance is never a good argument for disobedience – especially when God has given us His Word as well as His Spirit, Who teaches that Word to us. This is why Paul prayed for the Colossians after they came to know the Lord. His prayer is a reminder to us of the kind of things we need if we are going to consistently choose God’s will over the world’s ways or our own flesh. Let’s take a look at this prayer in Colossians 1:9-12.
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB)
The first thing Paul prays for these new believers is that they would be “filled with the knowledge of His will.” Therefore the first thing we learn about knowing and doing the will of God is that it is not natural. The Fall has resulted in us being blinded and incapable of knowing God’s will on our own. If we are going to walk in God’s will – and indeed “will” to do God’s will – we will need for God to teach us and reveal to us what His will is.
The second thing we learn about choosing God’s will is that it requires “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Again, this is not something that we learn like we would learn Math or Science. We need the Holy Spirit to open the Scriptures to us in such a way that we end up with “spiritual wisdom.” This phrase refers to the way we view the world around us. We begin to see things as God sees them. Until we do this we don’t have wisdom and will more than likely walk in foolishness consistently. (It may be helpful to know that foolishness here refers to any conduct where we are walking outside of God’s will or contrary to what God desires in our lives.) Whereas spiritual wisdom refers to seeing things as God sees them, spiritual understanding refers to grasping what we see in a way that we begin to comprehend concepts and relationships between things. But the word used here has a highly practical meaning as well. We not only get things in our heads – but we begin to get the skills necessary to walk out mental concepts as lifestyle choices.
This kind of information comes to us from God as we read, study, memorize, and meditate on His Word. Without God’s revelation (written word) and illumination (Holy Spirit instruction) we are blind to truth. Some will balk at this, but in doing so they only reveal that they still have issues with pride and the self-life. It would be wise for us to be reminded of several passages of Scripture in this regard. God tells us in twice in Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) We also read in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
The world’s wisdom will not do the will of God for its wisdom is opposed to Him. This teaches us an important truth. If all we are getting is the world’s information sources each day, we will not walk in God’s will. In order to choose His will consistently in our lives, we MUST have a regular input of His spiritual wisdom as well as His spiritual understanding. Humility is required to do this. We MUST admit that we don’t have these things – and that they only come as we seek God for them.
As we close this week’s look at walking in the will of God, we need to answer a very simple question. The question is this: “Are we filling our minds and hearts with the kind of information that will lead to us knowing God’s will?” If our lives are filled far more with the world’s wisdom – we will walk in worldly ways. We will not have the information we need to walk godly – choosing God’s will over our own fleshly wisdom and the wisdom of the world. We will find ourselves far more convinced of the world’s take on things, which will subsequently move us far more consistently with actions and a lifestyle that agrees with the world and disagrees with God. If we are going to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, we will have to be filled with His will, His thoughts, His reasoning, and His plan of action. Anything else will result in us choosing the same foolishness the world has always chosen – and missing out on the blessing of walking in the will of God.