“Pray For Full Insight” ( Colossians 1: 9 – 10, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“For this reason, ever since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you. We ask God that you may receive from Him all wisdom and spiritual understanding for full insight into His will, so that your manner of life may be worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to Him.”

 

How is it we make our lives “worthy of the Lord?” How is it we make ourselves “entirely pleasing to Him?” Through God’s “wisdom;” by receiving from Him “spiritual understanding” and “full insight into His will.”

 

For us to please God, it is not enough to want to do His will. We need to know His will. Some people believe God wants them to murder doctors who perform abortions. They believe this evil act is the will of God. Some people believe God wants them to set bombs to go off in airplanes in the United States of America. They believe this evil act is the will of their god. Some people believe God wants them to wave the American flag and isolate us from the rest of the world — economically, socially, even religiously. They believe this act of fear is the will of God.

 

God’s will never calls us to do an evil deed in His Name. He never calls us to act out of fear, hatred, mistrust or a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Rather God calls us to love our neighbors and to do good to those who hate us. We are to turn the other cheek when we are struck. To accept and act upon God’s will, we must pray ceaselessly for “full insight” and “spiritual understanding.” God calls us to love our enemy.

“Yield” ( Psalm 40: 8, NIV ) by Carley Evans


“I desire to do Your will, O Lord,” sings the psalmist.

 

Oh that we each have that desire — the desire to discover, know, and do the will of our God. Many, if not most of us claim to desire to do the will of God, but I must admit to doubting this is true. We spend so little of our time contemplating God, meditating upon His Word, praying for His will in our lives; that it’s hard to believe we really desire His will.

 

Some of us might think that God’s will is enigmatic. His thoughts are so far above ours that we are incredulous. We think how can we know what God wants.

 

But, God’s Word is rather clear — He wills for us to seek Him first, to love Him first; then to love our neighbors in the same manner that He loves us. This perfect love may indeed be beyond our capability, but we have an obligation to yield ourselves to God the Holy Spirit who works within and through us to accomplish His will.

 

Yielding is the key.

“In Accord With God’s Will” (1 John 5: 14, NEB) by Carley Evans


“We can approach God with confidence for this reason: if we make requests which accord with His will He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know also that the things we ask for are ours.”

Lazarus falls ill.

Martha sends a message to Jesus, telling Him that His friend, Lazarus is sick. Jesus knows that “this illness will not end in death; [but] has come for the glory of God.” (John 10: 4) Therefore, He deliberately waits two days.

Lazarus dies.

Mary stays at home. Martha seeks Jesus, saying: “If You had been here, sir, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will grant You.”

Jesus promises Lazarus will rise again.

Martha tells Mary that Jesus is looking for her.

Mary – who Jesus forgives much, so that she loves much — comes to the place where Jesus is. When she sees Him, she falls at His feet and testifies: “O sir, if you had only been here my brother would not have died.” Mary and her companions are weeping.

Jesus weeps.

Jesus says, “Do I not tell you that if you have faith you see the glory of God?” (John 11: 41)

The stone is rolled away, and Jesus raises His dead friend with a “great cry: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ ”

The confidence Mary and Martha show in Jesus’ ability and willingness to save Lazarus from death is valid. They are correct — if Jesus comes while Lazarus is ill, then Lazarus does not die. But Jesus waits, confident Himself that Lazarus’ death and subsequent resurrection is “for [the] good [of Mary and Martha and others] and for the good of [their] faith.” (John 11: 15)

Jesus knows they are to “see the glory of God” which is indeed “in accord with God’s will.”

“The Mystery: Christ In You” (Colossians 1: 27 – 28, HCSB) by Carley Evans


God intends to “make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Paul and Timothy continue to pray, “asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1: 9 – 10)

The hope in you is “you are rescued…from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.” (Colossians 1: 13 – 14)

Paul and Timothy “proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that [they] may present everyone mature in Christ.”

Paul and Timothy wish and work for the maturity of Christians, that each bears fruit, grows in knowledge of God, and understands God’s will. Paul intends to “make God’s message fully known.” (Colossians 1: 25) He warns, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit.” (Colossians 2: 8) Base your walk on Christ, “for the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you are filled by Him.” (Colossians 2: 9 – 10)

This is the mystery — Christ in you, the hope of glory.

“God At Work In Us” (Ephesians 1: 7, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul says that our redemption is “in Him – the Beloved.” Our salvation is not in ourselves or in another. Rather, we are redeemed “through His blood.” We are not redeemed through the blood of bulls, goats, lambs. Rather, Christ’s blood pays our debts. We are forgiven our sins [trespasses, debts] “according to the riches of His grace.” His grace saves us.

Christ “is the mediator of a new covenant, so that [we] who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death occurs that redeems [us] from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9: 15) Christ “appears once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9: 26)

Paul explains that we are “predestined…for adoption as sons.” (Ephesians 1: 5) Our adoption is possible because of “His glorious grace” (Ephesians 1: 6) and “according to the purpose of His will.” (Ephesians 1: 5) We are not adopted by our will, but by His will.

God “works all things according to the counsel of His will,” reminds Paul. (Ephesians 1: 11) God is the one who is at work in us. He seals us with “the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” (Ephesians 1: 13 – 14)

Therefore, since God is at work in us, we should praise Him. We should give Him all the glory which is due Him for He sends His Son who willingly dies to make our adoption possible. Hallelujah!

“Throw Yourself Into The Sea” (Colossians 3: 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul exhorts us, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Paul does not distinguish between word and deed. He refers to “word” as action and he refers to “deed” as action, then calls upon us to “do everything” in Jesus’ Name — align our speaking with the Lord as we align our deeds with the Lord.

What does it mean to “do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus”?

Jesus tells His disciples, “Have faith in God. I will tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11: 22 – 23)

He clarifies by adding that “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11: 24)

When we come to God the Father in prayer, we come in the power of the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus teaches us to pray. His model prayer begins with a recognition of God as our Father, and with a hallowing or honoring of His Name. Then we call on God to achieve His will here on earth just as His will is accomplished in heaven.

As we have faith in God and ask in prayer for “anything” (which is implied in Jesus statement: “whatever you ask for”), then believe in our hearts that we “have received it” then “it will be [ours].” “Whatever we ask for in prayer” is anything which is aligned perfectly with God’s will. If aligned perfectly with the will of God, then we will believe it to be ours already, and we will receive it. The doubt comes upon us when we realize that perhaps what we ask for is not fully in God’s will. We are not certain. Therefore, we do not receive it because we doubt. Our doubt is the proof that what we are requesting is not God’s will.

So, whatever we say or do, we are to say or do in the Name of Jesus Christ. As we say and do everything in God’s Name, then whatever we ask for, we will receive. Believe; or as Jesus says, “Have faith in God.”

“Discern By Testing” (Romans 12: 2, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Two angels come to Sodom where they find Lot sitting at the city gate. Lot invites the angels to come to his house where he feeds them “a feast and bakes unleavened bread, and they eat.” (Genesis 19: 3) Before the angels sleep, the entire city — “all the people to the last man surround the house.” (Genesis 19: 4) The entire city desires to engage in some sort of sexual activity with these two angels. Lot is mortified, and even offers his virginal daughters to the city. The city revolts, seeking to enter Lot’s house to take the angels by force. The two angels strike the men, “both small and great” who are at the door with blindness. (Genesis 19: 11)

Then the angels ask Lot to gather together “anyone you have in the city; bring them out of this place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19: 12 – 13)

Lot attempts to persuade his future sons-in-law to join him in his exodus from Sodom, but they think he is joking.

By dawn, the angels urge Lot to take his wife and his two daughters and leave. Lot does not obey. Instead, “he lingers. So the [angels] seize him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they bring him out and set him outside the city. And as they bring them out, one says, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” (Genesis 19: 16 – 17)

God asks us not to conform to the world. Lot is not conformed to Sodom. God asks Lot and us to escape, to take as many out of Sodom as we are able, not to bargain with those who are so wicked so as to destroy us along with themselves, not to laugh as did Lot’s sons-in-law, not to linger as did Lot, not to look back as did Lot’s wife.

God commands us to discern by testing what is good and acceptable and perfect in each and every situation.