Are We In God’s Will?- Colossians 1:9-12

As Christians, our desire is to be “in God’s will, to be living out His will and His plan for our lives. The questions which naturally arise for each of us are: What is God’s will for me, what does He want me to do? and How do I know if I am doing His will for me or not? In this passage, Paul tells us of his prayer for the Ephesian believers, and his prayer is that God would “fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding”. The word fill here is the Greek pleroo, the same word used in Ephesians 5:18, in which Paul tells us not to be “drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit”, with the same type of “filling” in both cases. The idea behind the word fill here is one of influence and control. One who is drunk is influenced and controlled by the wine (what he is “filled” with) and the influence of the wine causes him to act in certain ways, influences his behavior. In the same way, Paul prays here that believers would be influenced and controlled by the will of God for their lives, that His will and plan for us would influence and control our behavior like wine influences and controls a drunk. The Greek word knowledge here is epiginosko, the knowledge of experience. We find here that God’s will for our lives is learned by experience, we learn what His will is for us by doing it (much more to come on that later). The question then arises as to what Paul means here by God’s “will”? In this case, it is discovered through spiritual wisdom and understanding, which leads to the conclusion that he is referring here not to God’s “general” will for all believers. We all know God doesn’t want us to steal or murder, and to love our enemies, and it doesn’t take any great spiritual wisdom and understanding to know that. What Paul refers to here is God’s specific will for our individual lives, to the job He has for each of us in His kingdom. God has created each of us for a purpose, and His will is that we would fulfill His purpose for us as individual believers. If his will is for us to be teachers, that we would teach, that encouragers would encourage, that helpers would help, etc. God has a specific role for each of us to play as part of the body of Christ, and Paul here prays that all believers would come to know what that role is and would carry it out in their lives. We have already seen that this “will” is learned by experience, that we act on what we believe God wants us to do, and our experience in doing it confirms that this is His “will” for us. We step out in faith and act on what we believe God wants us to do in His church, and our experience verifies whether or not this is God’s will for us. How does experience teach us this? Our next post will examine verses 10-12, in which Paul gives us the tools through which we can determine whether what we are doing is God’s “will” for us as individual believers.

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