Monday, August 15, 2011

Head vs. Heart (Colossians 1:9-14)

“…asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,”

(Colossians 1:9b-11 ESV)
In writing this letter, Paul is speaking to congregations of people he had never met. However, we have already seen that he tells them the same sort of things he told communities everywhere he went. Here, his correspondence is prompted by reports that the believers in Colossae were being exposed to false teaching—something that was and is an ever present danger for churches everywhere. So in this circumstance Paul gives some advice that is universally applicable as well.

Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is for spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is something that our current Western culture—including the communities of believers in this culture—prize highly. However, the knowledge we hold in high esteem is nothing like the spiritual wisdom of which Paul is speaking.

We value information. We confuse the filling of one’s head with data as knowledge. The more facts someone knows about the Bible, the better Christian we think they are. What Paul is praying for is true knowledge.

Spiritual knowledge and wisdom involves understanding God and His will. This in turn unavoidably leads to a life lived with the aim of doing His will and pleasing Him. (Or in the unlikely event that you meet someone who has a grasp of what God’s will is and does not do it, stand well clear!) This is made possible because the One revealing the mind of God is also the One giving the power to live such a life. And the three characteristics of a person living a life pleasing to God in a world such as we currently reside in are endurance, patience and joy.

Knowing what we learn in these verses, most churches today really need to rethink the way they do Christian education, because our results show we have severely missed the mark!

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how often we link knowledge and wisdom with head where the Bible talks about heart (maybe its a limitation of English??). So many passages linking wisdom with heart (Prov 2:10, 14:33 to name but a few). I've just covered (ever so briefly) this topic in my Bible study group - that sin is from the heart and the difference that makes as parents dealing with our kids.


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