A Peek into God’s Heart
"So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding." (Colossians 1:9)
Do you ever wonder how to pray for people you care deeply about? I sure do!
Here, Paul tells the Jesus-followers in Colosse that since he first heard about them, he has not stopped praying for them. Praying what? How?
Paul asks God to fill them with the knowledge of his will, with spiritual wisdom and understanding.
What could he possibly mean??
‘God’s will’ as Paul describes it here, is so much more than which college to attend or who to marry. (Though these are important questions, and God definitely wants to help us make them well!)
Think about your will. What is it? You might have a goal, something on your heart that you want to accomplish. The specific things you do to accomplish this goal are part of it. They flow out of the bigger goal you have in mind, what you want to accomplish for some reason that is important to you.
God’s will is more and bigger than specific decisions. God’s will is how he ticks, what his heart desires, and what he wants to accomplish. And, amazingly, he wants to tell us what this is!
What Paul desired for them, and for us, is nothing short of a peek into God’s heart, an understanding of his ways, his love, and its results.
If we think of God’s will as a tightrope, we’ll walk in fear, thinking life is a constant test for survival. We’ll be afraid of decisions, thinking that if we “get it wrong” we’ll lose our footing on God’s perfect will, and plunge to defeat, crippled for life and never able to return to those heights.
Jesus gave us ‘a peek into God’s heart’ in John 15 where he describes his Father as a gardener and us as branches. His will, his heart for us, is to live attached to Jesus. That’s what he wants! He wants us to live in his love, love others, and have his joy. We know this, because Jesus went on to say, “A master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me” (John 15:15). He gave us that peak into God’s heart.
So maybe God’s will is more like a garden, where we can get to ‘know God better and better,’ and our lives produce all kinds of good fruit (Colossians1:10). As we spend time with him there, we find out more and more what he’s like, what pleases him, and we become more like him.
A garden becomes beautiful and productive over time. Projects develop. Mistakes are redeemed. Ugly spots are made beautiful. People are nourished.
Pruning happens, and this is painful, but it’s done by a Gardener who loves us and wants us to flourish and be fruitful.
So, what ARE God’s ways? And what are the results?
Well, God has a burning desire to express his love, in a way that is effective. That’s why he sent Jesus.
He desires to connect with us. That’s why Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches, remain in me (John 15:1-8).
He desires us to love each other in ways that bring life (John 15:1-17).
He desires to make us into a beautiful, growing masterpiece showcasing and expressing his love and his purposes (Ephesians 2:10).
And he desires that we would KNOW these things about him. That’s why he communicated them to us (John 15:15).
He WANTS us to understand his heart.
God desires for us a growing experience and understanding of him, his great news for us, what that looks like, and how it works out in real life. He wants to give us an understanding of his purposes, and the outworking of his amazing ways.
He wants us to know him this way so we will see the world the way he does.
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (Colossians 1:10).
He wants us to fully enter into life.