For his reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding Col 1:9
One thing that is important to know is what the will of God is. How can we please Him if we don’t know what He wants us to do? Many people believe that God always gets His way. This is not true, and if you believe that then you are setting yourself up for a lot of defeat in your life. I mean, if you believe that everything that comes your way is the will of God, how could you fight against it? You’d be fighting against God. God doesn’t always get His way. In fact, he much more often does NOT get His way. For example, look at 1 Timothy 2:4:
[God] desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
Are all people saved? No. Actually most people are not saved. And another scripture says:
[God is] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Here are two scriptures that say the same thing about God’s will when it comes to mankind’s eternal end, but sadly His will is not being carried out. Actually, the entire bible is filled with examples of people NOT doing the will of God, and unfortunately have had to suffer the consequences.
But thank God for those who obey the will of God and are blessed for it!
If you want to be blessed, you, too, need to obey the will of God. But if you are going to obey it, you need to know what it is. That is what Paul is praying for. He’s praying that the believers would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. In Romans 12 the bible says:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
In order for us to know what the will of God is, we need to live on a constant diet of His Word. That Word will renew your mind. It will give you clear thinking. And since God’s Word is His general will, you will begin to understand what He wants you to do in a general sense. And as your grow closer to God through time in prayer and the Word, God will also reveal to you what He wants you to do in a more specific sense. The bible tells me lots of things, but it doesn’t tell me who to marry, or where to go to school, or where to move. How can we know these things? God uses a few different ways:
For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace… Isa 55:12
Peace is a good indicator of whether or not we are moving in the right direction. If you have a strange feeling about something that you are thinking about doing, if you don’t have peace about it, many times that’s a message from God telling you not to do it. Maybe you are trying to fill out a college application, but something just doesn’t feel right, you aren’t in peace about it. That could be a sign that this isn’t the will of God.
Another way God leads us is by an inward witness.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God Romans 8:16
I remember years ago when I was eager to meet the girl that was going to be my wife. I went on a few dates here and there. I would pray about the girls I was on a date with and I wouldn’t feel peace about a relationship with them on the inside. One girl in particular, I remember, was interesting to me. I went and prayed about the relationship and I know that God had given me a signal in my spirit that this was not the right one for me. Stupid me went after her anyway. Fortunately she was close enough to God to hear the same message that I did and the relationship was ended. I tried to learn my lesson and continued to seek the Lord about my future wife. When I finally met Katrina I remember very clearly the day that I prayed about her. I was very skeptical because she lived 1000 miles away. I told the Lord that I really didn’t want to pursue a relationship with a girl so far away unless this was truly from Him. I remember sensing a warm glow in my spirit. Best way to describe it was that it was like a green stoplight illuminating in my spirit. I said, “Alright Lord, but only because I really believe this is of You.” And it was of Him! It was God’s Spirit bearing witness with my spirit that this was the direction that I should go.
One of the greatest examples of this that I can think of is when I was at Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, OK. I had a roommate (who was a little on the stranger side) that I would sometimes pick up from work when his car wasn’t working. Jerry was an atypical black guy in his 40’s (although, like most black people, he looked a lot younger), he had round glasses, false teeth, and was quite feminine. He could never get my name right, so I gave in to the fact that I would be known as ‘Howie’ to him. One day I was heading out of our apartment to go pick him up at the time he had told me before he went to work. As I was leaving I had a feeling that I should not go pick him up. I brushed it off and kept going. Driving down the road the same sense came to me again. It wasn’t like a voice telling me something, but it was like a inward knowing, like a message being sent straight to my brain from my spirit and my brain was working to interpret what it meant outside of the realm of words. The ‘sense’ was so evident that I pulled of the road and talked to the Lord about it. I said, “Lord, what is this? I know I need to pick Jerry up.” To make a long story short, I ended up not listening to that inward witness and went along to pick him up. When I got to Walmart, I began to look for Jerry. I couldn’t find him. After looking for a while, I asked if anyone had seen him. They said that he had already left. When I arrived home I found Jerry sitting on the couch. I said, “Jerry, what’s the deal? I told you I was going to pick you up!” He said without turning from the tv, “I’m sorry Howie, I told the Lord to tell you not to pick me up. My friend gave me a ride.”
Although I do not believe we can use the Lord as a telecommunications service, He used this opportunity to teach me about the inward witness. This is one way that the Lord guides us in what His will is for us personally.