Knowing God’s Will

Bible Reading: Colossians 1:9-14

Colossians 1:9, “And 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.” 

Having helped to teach in many pastor conferences in Uganda, we’d often conclude a day’s instruction by giving the pastors opportunities to ask questions.  There was never a shortage of questions, for the pastors had lacked training and the churches they led had lacked Bibles, or any kind of Bible study resources.  Sometimes these question-and-answer sessions would last for hours.  They would ask about all sorts of things: “Is tongues Biblical?” “The Bible says that we should live with our wife in an understanding way.  But what if she is rebellious and difficult?” “What should I do about a divisive man who refuses to stop even after being confronted?” “What should be done with the unrepentant drunkard?”  “What should we do if a man has more than one wife?”  They earnestly wanted to know what the Bible had to say about a matter, and that’s where we’d take them to find answers.  It was important to them to know and do what God wanted them to do in their lives and ministries.

Paul prayed thus for the believers in Colossae that they “may be filled with the knowledge of his will” (Colossians 1:9).  Put simply, God’s will is that which God wants to be done by us.  Before you were saved, being “alienated and hostile in mind,” you had no desire at all to do anything of what God wants (Colossians 1:21).  But in Christ, things have changed for you such that knowing and doing God’s will matters!

God’s will is a beautiful thing.  According to Romans 12:2, God’s purpose is that through the renewing of the mind, we might “discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2).  Three adjectives are used in that verse to describe God’s will—it is good, acceptable, and perfect.  Together, they speak of something that is intrinsically good, pleasing to God, and in perfect adherence to his plan.  God’s will is God’s best for us, or as one pastor put it; “success is knowing and doing God’s will.”  As Christ is the perfect example to us in every virtuous thing, so He is when it comes to knowing and doing God’s will.  He lived His life in perfect conformity to the will of the Father, even when it demanded His own life blood (Hebrews 10:7; John 4:34; Matthew 26:39)!

How are we to discern the will of God?  That’s a much-asked question, a subject to which entire books have been devoted.  But the simple answer is that we can know what God desires for us to do through the Word and the Spirit.  In fact, it is as the Spirit of God applies the Word of God to our hearts that we obtain the knowledge and wisdom necessary to discern and do the will of God in our lives (2 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:13).  The Spirit not only works to direct us through the Word into God’s will, but He also actually intercedes for us unto that very end (Romans 8:27)!

Sometimes the Bible plainly sets forth a matter to be the will of God.  For example, it is God’s will for us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:17-18); sanctified (1 Thessalonians 4:3); thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18); and to trust God in all (1 Peter 4:19).  Still, sometimes we have questions regarding specific personal decisions.  In such matters, it’s helpful to seek godly counsel.  And sometimes God works to move us via our circumstances.  But how good it is to know that God hears our prayers and that the Spirit speaks to our hearts and can lead us in the will of God (Philippians 2:13).  Make is your goal to be “fully assured in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12), that you might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord!


Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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