Inclining Ourselves to the Will of God

Col 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

Summertime means camping for a lot of families like ours. It also produces one of the funniest and most frustrating scenes in all of life, putting up a tent. If you are like me you have spent many hours trying to erect a contraption made out of nylon and plastic that your family is supposed to sleep in. There is an exact way to do it and I know every way how not to do it. We can often get frustrated when things don’t fit exactly and easily give up, often using God as a culprit as to why it didn’t pan out.

One thing I am often asked as a pastor is the question “What is the will of God for my life?” People desperately want to know what God wants them to do with their life. Usually people are in a desperate situation like a loss of job or a potential move and really need some discernment in their life. I often feel helpless in these situations but try my best to help them wade through the process by praying and showing them scripture.

The problem we run into is that we try to turn God’s will into our to do list. For those of us who are task driven this gives us great comfort when we can check off acts of obedience. When we are uncertain it can throw our whole day. Let me suggest to you that knowing the will of God has little to do with what we are to do with our life but instead how we are to please Him.

In Colossian 1:9 Paul is praying that the Colossians will be filled with the knowledge of His will. From our first look this sounds great, someone else is praying that we will know what to do with our life. That isn’t what Paul is praying for. He is praying that the Colossians will know what pleases God and brings him joy. That is what the word “will” means here.

If we go from that definition then this frees us in so many ways. It is no longer about me but about what is important to God. What pleases God? I can safely guess it has little to do with where I live or where I work but in how I live. The first and foremost thing that we can do to please God is to worship Him. By this I mean true worship where we give him verbal praise and submit under his authority. If we were to focus on this I believe everything else would fall into place.

Here is the difficulty: to be filled with the knowledge of what please God means that we must incline ourselves to His will (Josh 24:23). To incline means to stretch a piece of material over the framework of a tent. If you have ever put a tent up you know this isn’t easy. Tentmakers purposely make the fabric smaller than the frame so that you have to stretch it. This produces a tight fit and helps it stand better. If we are going to please God it means that we need to stretch our lives over God’s framework. We aren’t big enough to do that but God is able to stretch us so that we fit. If we are inflexible we run into problems. Brings new meaning to the phrase “being conformed to His image.”

So doing the will of God means that we must seek out those things that please God. This doesn’t come natural to us so we must allow Him to stretch us into that framework. When we do this we start to understand what God sees and are drawn towards the things on His heart. Incline your heart to the will of God today and discover the wonderful world of pleasing Him.

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