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Eternity 82 - Filled With The Knowledge Of His Will

Colossians 1:7-12 ASV even as ye learned of Epaphras our beloved fellow-servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, (8) who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. (9) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10) to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; (12) giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;

As we saw in the last devotional the Colossians were good at love but poor at truth. Paul was delighted about their "love in the Spirit" (v.8). Yet love without truth can be misguided so Paul prays for the Colossians "that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding...". This would cause them to a) walk worthily b) bear fruit c) increase in knowledge d) become strong e) develop patience, and finally - f)be thankful to God. The knowledge of God's will combined with deep spiritual wisdom and understanding brings a solid soundness to the Christian life that it can have in no other way. Truth enables us to see life correctly, to live and act honorably and to bear fruit in quiet steady ways in our ministry. Truth and wisdom give us a long-term life perspective enabling us to be strong under trials and thankful in all circumstances. With a deep grasp of God and of spiritual wisdom we can be overcomers in all circumstances.

What was Paul praying for when He asked for them to be "filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" ? Was it that they would all know the books of the Bible? That they would all be bible-trivia experts? Or able to parse Hebrew? Or perhaps that they would be able to give the "eschatological implications of a literal interpretation of the book of Revelation" (an essay I once got set at bible college). I don't think so.

Paul was wanting them to know what God wanted (knowledge of His will) and how to go about doing it in wise and spiritual ways that showed that the Colossians deeply understood what it meant to be a Christian (spiritual wisdom and understanding). Bible trivia and esoteric theology have little or nothing to do with living the wise and spiritual Christian life on a day to day basis. By nature they avoid it and locate Christianity in such questions as "who was the shortest man in the bible" (Ans: The guard who slept on his watch) or in arcane questions about "bible codes" that have no daily application. Trivia and esoterica dodge around real life and thus miss out on being "chokma" or true wisdom.

The true results of spiritual wisdom and understanding are evident in a life that "walks worthily of the Lord, bearing fruit in every good work". Such a life radiates God, and displays understanding. Such a life bears fruit in the community and is a blessing to one's friends and neighbors. True spirituality is tangible. It is not quite enough to have a good bible knowledge and a dozens "big visions' which never happen. You have to show your knowledge in your living, you have to make your visions bear fruit - then you are truly wise and truly spiritual. And we cannot rest on our laurels or our diplomas. The truly spiritual person is a life-long learner "increasing in the knowledge of God".

Verses 11 and 12 have a few surprises. Verse 11 begins with "strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto..." well what would you expect to come next? What purpose is this mighty power "all power according to the might of His glory" going to be put to? Unto preaching the gospel? Unto mighty works? Unto conquering the world? The answer is "unto all patience and longsuffering with joy". The person who can be patient and long-suffering and rejoice in all circumstances is demonstrating the mighty power of God. God fills us with power so that we can be PATIENT.

By definition impatient people are spiritually weak and unwise. Most of our weak moments and foolish acts arise when we are impatient. Only the power of Christ in us can make us strong enough to be patient, wise and noble Christians.

Finally the person filled with knowledge and with spiritual wisdom and understanding is no joyless cynic. They are characterized by living "with joy; giving thanks unto the Father". The wise person is a happy person seeing deep joy in a world ruled by God.

This is a contrast to the wise person in the OT Wisdom literature who is often saddened by the world's ills and puzzled by injustice. In Christ we transcend such despair, we know that there is love at the end. We know that the darkness will be dealt with and that God has "made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light".

John Edmiston
Asian Internet Bible Institute

 

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