Saturday, May 26, 2007

His Will

9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks[d] to the Father, who has qualified you[e] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. -Colossians 1:9-14

Now, what does that have to do with

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members,[
e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

9Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[
g] serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[
h] Never be conceited. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. --Romans 12

I was considering God's will this morning. What is the will of God? In Romans 12 it is laid out for us. And in Colossians 1, Paul is praying to God that He would fill them with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I admit to believing God's will must be for me to be some sort of moral or spiritual policeman. I admit to not exactly knowing where to draw the line sometimes. What ought I to object to, what ought I to refrain from, and what ought I to exhibit grace toward. What will cause my brother to stumble? For some reason, this is a big deal to me. Perhaps it is that I am secretly worried about displeasing God. To what limit should I police my own actions?

But I see here that many of these things Paul lists are spiritually discerned. Earthly eyes and wisdom cannot satisfy the requirements of God's will, if that makes sense. There must be an inward turning from the kind of sin that hurts other people. This heart shift that only God can create, and turns us from an inward focus to an outward focus. That shows a love and preference (deference) for other people because they are created in the image of God. Not only within the church, but outside the church, too. But the point is that only God can do this, only God can strengthen with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. It can't be forced or done by our own power.

This has taken a while to learn, and I feel like I'm just barely grasping at this at the moment, and if anyone would like to correct me or add to this, please let me know your thoughts.


At 9:43 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

John MacArthur, in a Q & A session was asked, "How do I know the will of God for my life?" I think his answer makes a good read.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Marcian said...

Thanks, Daniel. I read this after I returned from vacation and it was a good cap to a week filled with much internalization about what it means to please God.


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