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October 10, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”—Colossians 1:9–12 (NIV)
Colossians begins with two prayers from Paul to the Colossians. The first was a prayer of thanksgiving for their past. In the second, Paul asks God to bless the Colossians with very specific spiritual blessings that we, too, can experience today.
Paul asks the Lord to fill them with the knowledge of His will through the Spirit. Why? So they could live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way. This presents us with a vital truth of the Christian life: We can’t know the will of God if we don’t have intimacy with God.
Often, we associate God’s will with what we do. We believe it’s all mainly about knowing what God wants from us in our everyday life or in a specific situation or decision. But what if Paul’s prayer points to something beyond that? What if the will of God is less about what we do and more about WHO WE ARE?
In Paul’s letters, he tends to write about the will of God for believers in being terms rather than doing terms, in who we become rather than what we do. Romans 12:2 (NIV) says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Greek word for mind is noús. One Bible translator describes it like this: “For the believer, (noús) is the organ of receiving God's thoughts, through faith.” When we receive God’s thoughts and are transformed by them, “Then [we] will be able to test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
So, we could say that to know God’s will is to understand His heart, mind, and character on a deep, intimate level. It’s not about doing more good, but becoming more like Jesus. And if we want to become more like Jesus, we have to spend time with Jesus. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more intimately we’ll know Him and become like Him. And the more like Jesus we become, the easier it’ll be for us to know and walk in God’s will for our lives as the Spirit’s voice and direction becomes clearer.
Now, look at the blessings and benefits we experience when we have this deep intimacy with Him and find ourselves walking in His will. We’ll bear fruit, do good works, grow in the knowledge of God, be strengthened with endurance and patience, and develop a heart of deep gratitude (Colossians 1:10). These blessings are available to all of us, friends. All we need to do is seek intimacy with God, and we’ll become a little more like Jesus today than we were yesterday! And as we do, as we seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), all these amazing blessings will be added unto us!
DIG: Why is it important to have intimacy with God in order to know His will?
DISCOVER: How have you experienced these blessings through your relationship with Jesus?
DO: Make a plan to develop deeper intimacy with the Lord in this season. Consider ways you can be more intentional about growing in your relationship and cultivating a greater knowledge of His will and heart.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.