Putting the fun in funeral
Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Colosse says this: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:8-9)
How do you view the will of God? Is it something that transcends everything that we, in our vain attempts at control, seek to enact? Maybe it’s something that mysteriously weaves Its way in and around and among those with whom we interact? Do we consider it at all? And if it’s something that will happen whether we want it or not, what’s the secret for getting in the center of His will for our life? How do we make God’s will our will?
“Wherefore life up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)
The above passage shows that God is moving—whether we like it or not. Look again at Paul’s statement to the Colossians. “For this cause…” What cause? What would fill Paul with such enthusiasm so as to pray that they know God’s will “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”?
In short, Love.
One of Paul’s compatriots had evidently come from Colosse to Paul with a glowing report: “[Epaphras] also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:7) The reality here is, without love, knowing God’s will becomes something that we merely observe happening around us—if we’re even that perceptive—rather than something in which we partake and participate. Love. Love for God and love for others.
Many things can be boiled down to exact science. Quantified and tallied and streamlined. This is the way of mass-production, of assembly lines and binary code. When we seek to wrap around the will of God, a lifeless and loveless regime, and omit the living Holy Spirit from having His way, then it’s the numbers that will affect our joy in the Lord. Paul says that Epaphras “declared…your love in the Spirit.” There is no mistaking the love and presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the one commodity that cannot be traded or bought and sold. Heck, it’s not a commodity, He’s the very atmosphere of Heaven who now pervades earth because of Jesus’ death. And even Jesus had to struggle with enacting His will above His Father’s:
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42, emphasis mine)
As such, there must be a death to our own will before seeing God’s in our life. This is abhorrent to the human animal, and also one of the things that separates us from the animals. To see and feel the desire to do that thing we think will make us happy—and then choose otherwise. To deliberately choose that thing, whatever it may be, in a situation, that the Holy Spirit intimates to us. To love God and love others more than we love ourselves. This is the essence of the Christ-like life.
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1 John 3:14)