tftlfaj fottfj tfje Itnofoletise of ffioo's
"We do not cease to pray for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding."—Col. i. 9.
rTIO understand the place of this prayer in the Christian life, and to realise how being "filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom" lies at the very root of its growth and health, just notice what a beautiful description of the walk of a believer follows on this prayer as the blessing it is meant to bring. The result of being filled with the knowledge of God's will will be, that we " walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing; that we bear fruit in every good work; that we increase in the knowledge of God; that we are strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy, giving thanks unto the Father." Walking worthily of God and pleasing Him; bearing fruit; increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all might; all patience and longsuffering with joy and thanksgiving,—such is the sure portion of a soul "filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." It is the will of God that all these things should be in us and abound. Where the heart is filled and possessed with the knowledge of all this indeed leing God's will, the life will be filled with its fruits.
We have before spoken of the knowledge of God's will. The great truth suggested by these words in regard to it is that it must be in "all spiritual wisdom and understanding." There is a wisdom and an understanding of the truths of Scripture which is not spiritual. The human mind can study and apprehend the doctrines the Bible teaches concerning God and the Divine life in man, without having any true apprehension of them in their quickening life and power. Christians, to a very large extent, study their Bible, listen to preaching, read religious books, in the confidence that they are earnestly desirous of knowing the truth, and able to some extent to grasp it, while the real spiritual wisdom and understanding to make it their own, to prove its power in their life, is not waited for from God. They wonder why so much Bible knowledge does not make them humble and lowly as they would like to be. They never know that it is simply because their knowledge of God's will is in the power of human wisdom and the natural understanding. And such knowledge is powerless to work effectually what God's Word is promised to work.
In His farewell discourse our Lord said to His disciples, "The Holy Spirit shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. The Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth." To the Holy Spirit alone was thus committed the power of teaching Divine truth and leading men into it. He was to teach all things, to guide into all truth; no truth could be known truly without His teaching. As the indwelling Spirit, possessing and renewing the heart, He alone could so impart the truth, that it became part of our very nature, giving both the will and the power to obey it. Our Lord had taught His disciples many things while on earth with them. But how little had they understood? Still less were they able to obey His commands of self-denial and meekness, and humility and love. With the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven into their hearts as the power of God and the Spirit of His Son, the words of God would come to them in their spiritual, supernatural, quickening power.
We need to study this. As no one can worship God in spirit and in truth but through the Holy Spirit, so no one, not even a true Christian, can have any spiritual understanding of God's will but by the Holy Spirit. The one reason that our knowledge of God's will is so defective in its extent and power, that we see so little beauty in God's will, that we so little delight or ever succeed in fulfilling it, is simply this: the knowledge is not in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
And what is needed to get this spiritual wisdom through the Holy Spirit's teaching? One great thing—we must be spiritual men. Paul says to the CorintLians, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal." They were unfit for full spiritual teaching, because they were not spiritually minded. This suggests to us the law of all the Holy Spirit's teaching. He cannot communicate spiritual truths to those whose lives are worldly, selfish, carnal. He asks a disposition that at least longs to be spiritual. It is in the heart He gives His teaching. The man who yields his life to be led and ruled by Him will be taught by Him. Such a one can be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
Mark the word filled. It points to an emptying out and putting aside of all else. It suggests a heart given up wholly and entirely to the will of God. It promises a life in which the will of God shall spontaneously enter the minutest details of daily life—the whole heart filled with it and with nothing else. It is not the thought of a multitude of commandments all packed together, but of God's grand will, as the controlling power of the life, inspiring and animating the whole being. The two thoughts accompany and are the complement of each other—the whole being surrendered to be spiritual and receive spiritual wisdom, and the whole being thus filled with the knowledge of God's will.
For this Paul did not cease to pray and make request for the Cclossians. Let us pray for God's Church and ourselves, that the spiritual filling with the knowledge of God's will may be given us. The blessing is waiting for us; the Father delights to give it. It is our birthright—a Divine birth needs and has the promise of a Divine education. The Spirit through whom we received the Divine life can alone, will most surely, guide us unto all its riches. Let us pray unceasingly, honestly, believingly, to be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
In heaven the will of God is done. Nothing but the heavenly life can do it. None but God's Spirit can do God's will. Let us not expect to know or do it without the heavenly life working in us by the Spirit come from heaven into our heart, The heavenly life delights in God's will. This is one of the great lessons that the Church needs to learn, that the universal neglect of so much of God's will, and the universal complaint of lack of power to perform, has but one cause: the heavenly life in the power of the Holy Spirit is so little known or sought.
Brother, learn well the lesson that no knowledge and no book can profit thee except as it reminds thee of the need of the One Only Teacher, the Spirit of Truth, and leads thee in inward adoration and teachableness to wait for the hidden spiritual wisdom which He gives in the inward part.