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God’s Will Hunting

• Greg Boyd

It can be difficult to understand God’s will. In this sermon, Greg talks about the foundations of understanding God’s will. When understanding God’s will, it is important to understand the gift of who God made us and live out of that understanding. It is important to realize that God is the center of our being and not a consultant or retainer.

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Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend a lot of time on God’s will. This topic is foundational to understanding how to living in the Kingdom, and there are a lot of questions associated with God’s will. Whether it’s discerning God’s will or learning to submit to his will daily, it can be difficult to distinguish God’s will from our own feelings. It can also be confusing when some claim to know God’s will, yet their actions prove disastrous.

Understanding Colossians 1:9-12 will help us set the stage for the rest of Colossians. When Paul states that he asks God to “fill you with the knowledge of his will”, he’s urgently praying on the Colossians behalf that they will understand God’s will. This filling that Paul speaks of is central to accessing God’s will in your life, and we’ll come back to this topic in a little bit.

Paul continues with “so that, you may live a life worthy…”, and this is important to take a look at as well. He asks that they are filled with the knowledge of God’s will for the ultimate goal of living a worthy life. Some people misunderstand what worthy means in this passage. It can be easy to understanding worthiness as whether or not we are deserving of something. Similar to the storyline of Saving Private Ryan, people can think that “living a life worthy” means repaying a debt, and in this case, they can think it means repaying the debt of Jesus dying for them.

However, this tends to leave people with more of a curse than a blessing. If we were to attempt to pay back what Jesus did on the cross, we would have a debt that would loom over us the rest of our lives. We would not be able to pay him back, and we would have a weight on us forever. This is why it is so important to understand that Jesus’ actions on the cross were a gift with no strings attached.

Rather, “living a life worthy” means living in congruence with the way God sees us. We are to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, not so that we can properly repay a debt, but so we can live free in Jesus, bearing fruit in every good work, having great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance.

The main point of this passage in Colossians is knowing who we are and living in congruity with that vision. It is first and foremost about who we are, not what we do. Which can get a little confusing because it’s about living life, but the living is a natural extension of knowing God’s will for us. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, we might not want God’s will at the center of our worlds.

The main issue with Adam and Eve was that they wanted to live a life where they were in charge. They were tricked into thinking that their own wills in life would be better than following God’s will for their lives. Humanity has suffered the same sickness ever since. And in America, this freedom and independence is on steroids, where we make our own future and decisions, and people make a living being retainers or consultants to others about how to live their lives. Which is how we treat God when it comes to his will.

If we’re honest, we would probably see that we want to be independent of others when making decisions. We want to feel that we have the capacity to live our own lives and make our own, free, choices. The truth, however, is that the freedom Jesus gives us isn’t the freedom to be independent, but rather the freedom from the need to be independent.

God wants to be the center of our lives. He doesn’t want to be on-call whenever we have an issue that we need help resolving. If we live by our own vision of who we want to be, it will not be in congruence with what God sees, and it will not be in congruence with God’s will. We have to make God the center of our lives and put our own independence on retainer. If we surrender in this way, God’s will converges on our lives and we will be strengthened. We will have endurance and patience in suffering, and we will be filled with joyful thanks to the Father.

It’s not about discerning God’s will on a set of choices we’ve come up with, rather, it’s about depending on God to show us who we are and act in accordance with that vision. This is extremely difficult, and it requires us to give up our sense of “freedom”. But it’s like a beggar in the street refusing to drop the pennies in their hand for the hundred dollar bills being offered them. When God is the center, the life overflows with worthiness (congruity) and pleases the Father in every way.

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Topics: God's Will, Identity in Christ, Peace

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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 1:9-12

    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,[a] 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[b] to share in the inheritance of his people in the kingdom of light.

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7 thoughts on “God’s Will Hunting

  1. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the powerful eye opening message Greg.

  2. Bringin home the Word! Breakin it down! Thanks a lot for the true meaning and nature of the word ‘worthy’! Wheu; that took the pressure off!

  3. William Timmers says:

    I am Deaf and drooling on this sermon. Please will someone do either English transcript or put closed caption? I know it takes lot of heart to do that.

  4. Jim LePage says:

    Hey William – We actually just heard from someone who typed out a transcript of our recent Heaven and Hell Q&A (http://whchurch.org/heaven-and-hell-qa) and we’re hoping to post that soon.

    Not sure if we’ll get one for this sermon though, but if anyone else out there does do one for this or any other sermon, please let me know! We would love to make that available through our site! My email is jim(at)whchurch.org.

  5. Gregg Ward says:

    Would it make sense to do a split screen in the lower left corner of the person signing this live already?

  6. Jim LePage says:

    That’s a great question, Gregg. It’s actually something we’ve discussed before as well as doing spanish translations of sermons. There are several things that are preventing us from doing that. Here are a few…. We’d need another camera set up in the Worship Center. We’d need to figure out a different way of lighting the area where the translator sits (which could involve moving that area), since right now it’s way to dark to capture on video. There would be weekly production time to prepare the video and post the files as well.

    While we’d love to make sermons available in more formats like that, all of those things would take time, equipment and energy we simply don’t have available right now. We’d love to see it happen down the road though!

  7. Jim LePage says:

    For those of you interested in transcriptions, we just made transcriptions available of our entire Heaven and Hell Q&A. Sarah Burkett is a podrishioner and was kind enough to do the transcriptions and share them with us!


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