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.
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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