Knowing The Will Of God

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Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 1:9; 4:12;

12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

2  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

(Col 1:9 NIV)  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

(Col 4:12 NIV)  Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.


            As Christians we too often major in minors. We pray, “Oh Lord, help us pay the rent. Help me find a new job. I need a new car, Lord.” Those are legitimate concerns but they should be our minor concerns.

            Paul had a different approach. He had a specific request for the Colossian church: “…We are asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Col.1:9). This is majoring in majors. The basic premise is this: it is possible to know the will of God!  This should be at the top of our prayer list for ourselves and others.



A.    God created man originally in order to have communion with Him.

1.      Man was created with the ability to know God. But man’s rebellion and sin (his inability to hit the mark) broke the lines of communication.

2.      Through the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice we’ve been given the opportunity to restore that intimate fellowship with God, and this is the goal which we’re seeking.

3.      The initial problem is that our minds and our intellects are out of tune with God and blinded by the sin within and around us.

4.      When we pray for our children, we pray: “Oh God, give them a capacity to know You.”  If they come to know God, everything else will fall into place.

a.       This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things (Material needs) will be added or given to you” (Matt 6:33)

B.     Paul had observed what happened in a man’s life when he came to know the will of God. In the Colossian letter he lists seven expected results.

10  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

11  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.


1.      Most people are self-pleasers. Others are man-pleasers. But until we reach the stage of wanting to be God-pleasers we will never fully understand the will of God for our lives.

2.      It is only by doing the will of God that our lives become fruitful. Maybe you know someone who has been saved for years, but has never led another person to Christ. They complain, “What’s the matter with me?” Maybe I need to read a book on soul-winning.” They don’t need to read a book; they need to be in the will of God.

a.       Can you imagine an apple tree crying out, “Oh Lord, please bring forth apples from my life.” An apple tree doesn’t have to pray to bear apples. It has to bring forth the life that is in it; this is the act for which it was created, and it shouldn’t have to strain to produce.

b.      Fruit should come naturally.

3.      When we are in the will of God, knowing the will of God for our lives, we will bring forth fruit, the kind of fruit God wants each of us to bear.

C.     Knowing the will of God we increase in the knowledge of God and we’re strengthened with all might according to His glorious power. That is strength!

1.      Christian’s often complain of their weakness, rather than glory in their available strength.

a.       “It takes all the power I have just to stay right with God,” they say. “Please pray for me. I need more joy, more victory in my life.” We could pray, but 10 minutes later they’d feel down again.

b.   Talk about the days when we would have testimony time in the service and someone would stand up and glorify the devil.

c.        If they would seek to know God’s will for their lives and stay in that will, they would be strengthened with all might according to His glorious power unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness,

d.      When you know you’re in the will of God you can stand almost and hardship. There’s a problem when we are not sure a particular thing is God’s will for us. Then there is confusion and we become impatient. The translation of the Greek word for patience freely translated means to remain standing after everyone else has collapsed. We’ve all known people who have endured great trials and hardships yet showed the joy and victory that we admire. They could do it because they had come to terms with the Will of God for their life and they could give Him thanks in everything.

e.       When you know the Will of God you can give thanks to Him in all circumstances. That means while you’re going through the trial, not just after it’s over.

f.       With God, there are no accidents. I cringe when I hear people say after a close call in their life, “Boy I was lucky” Give God the praise!

a.       Joseph told his brothers, “You meant evil, but God meant it for good”

D.    How much of God’s will are we capable of knowing?

1.      Paul prayed that we should know and do all of God’s will for our life.

(Col 4:12 NIV)  Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

2.      As we seek the will of God for our life, we should earnestly ask:”Father, what do you want for me and my family? What do you want for my finances, my capabilities, and my talents? All that I have and all that I am I want to surrender to you and your will. I want to know and to do all of your will for my life.

3.      How do we go about knowing and doing the will of God for our life?

      The formula is found in Romans 12:1-2 (our text).

a.       Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is the same word used to describe what happened to Jesus on the Mt of Transfiguration. The disciples saw Jesus with Moses and Elijah. As He was transfigured, His whole countenance was changed by the Glory of God.

b.      That’s what Paul wants for us, that our mind would be transformed by the Glory of God. We need to learn to think differently from how we ever thought before. The ability to know the will of God requires a changing, a renewing of our minds.

c.       J B Phillips translation of this passage reads this way:

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intellegent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all the demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity.”

d.      When God remolds our minds we’ll think differently. We’ll see things in a different light. We won’t interpret things the way we used to. There’ll be a difference in our understanding.

Illustrate this way: Imagine a little boy looking through a knothole in the fence at a parade going by on the street. He can see just a little bit of the parade at a time. If he sees a clown he’s full of joy. If he sees a lion he’s afraid. If there is a space between the band and the acrobats he may even think the parade is over. And if someone stands in front of the knothole he sees nothing. It is a frustrating experience since he evaluates the parade only on the basis of what he sees (or can’t see) at the moment.

            Then there’s a voice that calls out to him. His older brother has climbed up on the rooftop and says, “Come on up. You can see much better from here!” So the little boy scampers up to the rooftop and from there he can see the entire length of the street below. He can see the beginning of the parade, the middle, and the end. It’s wonderful. He seeing things in a new perspective and it isn’t the way it looks through a knothole in the fence at all.

            When we look at life through a knothole we can see only what’s right before our eyes, evaluating circumstances on the basis of the here and now. I see only that my wife is sick, my checkbook is empty, etc, etc. God sees those things also, but so much more! Get your eye out of the knothole and take the place where you rightfully belong and you too will see things differently. This is looking at circumstances as God looks—taking the long look.

            Ephesians 2:6- Paul described where we belong:

(Eph 2:6 NIV)  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, KJV says, “made us sit together in heavenly places…”

            Our evaluation of people sometimes is flawed: “that old drunken bum” And the Lord says: “Don’t talk like that. That’s one of my jewels. I just haven’t polished him yet. “

(Isa 55:8 NIV)  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

(Isa 55:9 NIV)  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

It’s like the lady who was saved and that night she read in her Bible"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house” (Acts 16:31). She claimed the latter portion of that verse as a promise that God would save her husband. She was sure she knew just how it would happen. Her husband would be jumping for joy to go to church and get saved. But when he heard her praying, he went into a rage and told here to “shut up! Don’t try any of that religious stuff on me.”

            When someone gets angry at your testimony…in your heart rejoice, for it is a sure sign that God is speaking to him or her!

E.                 This is a day of mass media. The technological revolution that is taking place before our eyes is transforming the world for the Anti-Christ.

1, The media programs us to want, to desire, to consume. New fads come and go and we jump on the bandwagon.

4.      We watch TV and the commercials. Next time you’re in the grocery, you instinctively pick up that product you saw advertised.

5.      Madison Ave and all the others that manipulate us to buy, charge,etc.We are being trained and programmed to accept certain conditions and elicit certain responses from us. Your ATM cards, all the information that the government wants from us. We refused to shop at one of the major Supermarket chains because in order to get their discounts, you have to get a card and give them personal information about yourself so they can track your buying habits. But this also goes into a database that can be sold to others as well.

6.      I believe this is how the world is being brainwashed in preparation for national manipulation. Remember:”Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.” We are children of light, not darkness. Stay awake Invite the change that comes with Romans 12:1-2 Let your mind be renewed.

7.      As Philippians 2:5 exhorts “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. “


            The Holy Spirit is gentle. He never forces Himself into our lives. He must be invited. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift, the gift of God. It is for you to receive. Not beg for, but invite into your heart. This is not just an emotional commitment only to dissipate after the excitement of the moment. But Paul said it is an act of intelligent worship. A well thought-out commitment. God’s ways are not our ways. There were 2-3 millions Jews at the edge of the Red Sea who all wanted to go back to Egypt. But Moses said, “God says we’re going this way”. Had they called a church business meeting and taken a vote, the count would have been two million to one against. But the Israelites were looking through a knothole, while Moses was on the housetop. With an expanded vision and a transformed mind Moses could see the entire parade route across the Red Sea, beyond the wilderness and into the Promised Land. The democratic process is not always the best way, especially if we don’t have the mind of Christ and are looking through a knothole. In spite of human failure, I still believe God raises up spiritual leaders with vision that can see the big picture and lead us to a higher view.

            How about you?  Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed. That is a biblical question. If not, you need Him! Invite Him in. He wants to renew your mind, transform your life and help you walk worthily of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Preached at Calvary Temple, Auburn, WA 6/6/99, Sunday Evening Service

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