One Prayer, One Purpose
God rarely leads in a straight line, at least that has been my experience. Few people are living out the dream they I visioned as a child, even as a High School student. It's not that they didn't have a plan, but because life gets in the way or something else comes along that changes their direction.
That something can be positive or negative. Being fired from a job or a death in the family can derail plans and add unforeseen responsibilities. It could be a friendship that blossoms into marriage and children change the course of your future. Whatever the reason that straight line we thought would be our lives twists and turns, and each step of the way we ponder the will of God.
Of all the issues that Paul could have prayed for the Colossians he prayed unceasingly that they would be filled with the knowledge of God's will. He knew that whatever came their way it was God's will that would carry them through. It wasn't, however, a generic, it was specific and needed understanding, spiritual wisdom, and insight. Not because it was hard to understand, but because it ran contrary to the way of the world. Love don't hate, forgive don't resent, return evil with good, pray for your accusers, do good to those who would harm you, are in contrast to the world's advice. To apply them in specific situations, when everything and everyone is screaming for you to do something else, needs the intervention of God.
The word wisdom in the Greek means general knowledge of the specific tenants of God's will. The word understanding means junction, like two rivers. Paul prayed that they would know the general tenants of God's will and have the skill to apply them at the junction of their experience. That is no easy task, no wonder he prayed for this daily. Yet, it wasn't enough to for them know what they were suppose to do.
They were to know God's ways, so that they could walk in a manner with of God, so that, they would please Him, so that they would bear fruit.
If there is a manner that is worthy and pleasing to God, then there is a manner that is not worthy or pleasing. This is an important point. Especially in our culture where increasingly anything goes. The manner in which we live will set us apart from the world.
Interestingly the outcome of knowing the tenants is the way they are implemented. In other words it's not just that we go to church, is how we go to church. It's not that I interact with my family, but how I interact. It's not that I witness to my neighbor, it's how I present the gospel. It's not that I expose sin, but how I confront others. You get the point. At its basis it is about love, and we need spiritual understanding to apply it daily.
When our manner of daily living is rooted in the tenants and love of God, then God is pleased. The antithesis is true is well, and if God is not pleased our lives will not bear fruit, but if He is pleased we will bear fruit, and fruit is the manifestation of the prayer's success.
Fruit isn't necessarily the obvious desired outcome. If I choose to be honest and hold to integrity at work, I could get fired. Or if I faithfully share the gospel I might be killed. The fruit in these situations is the fruit of righteousness. More tangible fruit is when I love my spouse with godly love, or discipline my children with the love of God, the fruit is a healthy home environment where individuals have the freedom the grow in Christ. All because I know and apply the tenants of God in appropriate ways. That takes prayer.
Today I want to be fruitful, and I want you to be fruitful too. Therefore, I will pray that God will fill us with the knowledge of his will so that we will know the tenants of his will and appropriately apply them in our lives; that he would be pleased and we would bear fruit. I'm just saying...amen.