God’s Will – Colossians 1:27 03/15/2020

God’s Will – Colossians 1:27 03/15/2020

As we continue to explore Christian living, today we’ll tackle that ever-sticky topic of… God and His will. How do we know what it is? Every Christian will ask that question sooner or later. I, honestly, have wanted to know God’s will, and not wanted to know His will, at the same time. Why? Because most of the time, when I know God wants me to do something, it’s not what I want to do! Be careful about what you wish for…

However, the Christian walk is supposed to be a life lived in the will of God. Knowing God’s will is an integral component of the Christian walk, so let’s talk about it. Our passage today is a short one, especially for such a large topic, it’s found in Colossians 1:27. If you haven’t already memorized this passage, please take the time to look it up. It is God’s will that we understand something. The mystery, now revealed, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”[1]

Christianity is defined by this reality, “Christ in you,” but we keep trying to make it about our actions, we try to define our righteousness by lists of things we do and things we don’t.[2] In contrast to this, if you, if we, if I, have received Jesus as Lord, He now lives in you, us, me.[3] Christianity is not primarily about correct theology, or ethical standards, or religious ritual, it is first and foremost about a personal relationship with Jesus.[4] This has significant application to the question of God’s will. Christianity, the Christian life, is a life experienced in relationship with our God.

It is this that brings about the purpose of God, His will, in the life of the believer.[5] “Christ in you” is the key.[6] God’s will for each of us is that we be transformed into the image of Christ, and this is already underway in everyone who claims the name of Jesus as Savior.[7] “Willed” stands in the emphatic first place in the Greek sentence.[8] “Willed” (θελω), means “to desire,” therefore the translation reads, “to whom God desired to make known...”[9] This revelation proceeds directly from “the will of God” for each of us.[10] It is God’s desire that we know that Christ Jesus dwells within each of us who claim the name of Jesus.

With this reality in place we can now begin to discern other aspects of God’s will. We can know plenty, and all of these revelations of God’s will are at our finger tips, if we’ll just learn what God’s word, the Bible, has to say.

However, generally, when someone’s talking about God’s will they’re talking about God’s will for some specific decision they need to make. Now, God is perfectly able to supernaturally reveal His will in clear terms. Honestly, that’s not His normal mode of operation. He asks us to seek Him first, then seek His will. If you’re currently trying to discern His will for you, I have some bad news. If you aren’t seeking God and His will in the daily flow of life, if you’re not doing what you know He wants you doing right now, well then, when the big decision comes along… you’ve waited too long to start to seek His will.

So, how do we go about discerning God’s will in specific situations? Foundationally, you have to answer two questions. First, am I a Christian?[11] Is “Christ in you?” Second, am I really willing to do what He tells me to do? Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with yourself, but desiring to do the will of God from the heart is our calling.[12] Are you willing to do “whatever” God asks of you, and not only do it, but do it from the heart as service to Him? If the answer to both of these is “yes,” then know that the Spirit of God is indwelling you and will lead you. Remember Romans 8:14?

With that settled, there are some things to do as you seek to discern God’s will for specific situations. Start with prayer,[13]even fasting if the Spirit is guiding you into it. Also, we must use wisdom. God gave us a brain with the expectation that it would be used… at least occasionally. Finally, seek out wise, trustworthy, godly counselors.[14]

Now you have to remember that following the will of God does not mean instant success or an easy life. Then, there are times when God’s will does not make sense from a human perspective. I would be hesitant to put God in a box, He reserves the right to move, lead, and act according to His wisdom, not ours.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, a decision will probably have to be made. There is an aspect of testing and trying, and waiting to see what God does. I suppose it comes down to the question of just how big is your God? If you’ve done all these things, and if you’re honestly, sincerely, single-mindedly, seeking to obey God, then I have to ask, “Is your God really so small that He can’t make sure you make the right decision?”

It all boils down to our passage today, it starts and ends with Christ in you. But here’s the thing; we can’t wait until the “big decision” is looming over us. We train ourselves daily, we seek Him continually. We listen to the promptings and guiding of the Spirit of God moment by moment. The Christian life is a life lived in relationship with our God. It is a life characterized by moment to moment listening and obeying.

That happens right now, it happens all the time. It is a present tense verb.

  1. [1]James Dunn, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, eds., I Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 121. [2] Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 940. [3] Peter T. O’Brien, “Colossians,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1267. [4] Robert James Utley, Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, Then Later, Philippians), vol. Volume 8, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International, 1997), 24. [5]James Dunn, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, eds., I Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 123. [6]James Dunn, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, eds., I Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 123. [7]James Dunn, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, eds., I Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 123. [8] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Colossians, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 17. [9] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 193. [10] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Colossians, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 17. [11]Charles Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will: What Does He Want For Me? (Word Publishing, Nashville, TN.: 1999), 41. [12]Charles Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will: What Does He Want For Me? (Word Publishing, Nashville, TN.: 1999), 42. [13]Charles Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will: What Does He Want For Me? (Word Publishing, Nashville, TN.: 1999), 42. [14]Charles Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will: What Does He Want For Me? (Word Publishing, Nashville, TN.: 1999), 48-49.

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