*This blog post was adapted from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 3/6/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
Throughout the Bible, we can read prophecies about what the final days will look like. In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’s disciples asked him, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Included in his response were the words, “See that you are not alarmed.”
What is happening in our world at this moment might be a sign of what’s to come, or it may just be a blip on the screen. Either way, as believers in Christ, we should not be alarmed. Instead, we should prepare ourselves.
This is a time for spiritual discernment. This is a time to press in a little more – to spend extra time with the Lord and in His word, aligning ourselves with His purposes.
In Colossians 1:9, Paul writes, “We have not ceased to pray…” Paul was a believer in strategic and unceasing prayer and he encourages other believers to pray continually as well. Brother Lawrence called this “practicing the presence of God,” which means recognizing that He is always with us.
When we practice the presence of God, everything that we are faced with becomes a springboard to prayer. We are led into a natural conversation with the Lord and we are one with Him.
Two things happen when we pray:
When we are aligned with God and His will, it’s exciting! We enjoy the privilege of playing a part in His story and it’s beautiful.
Colossians 1:9 continues, “...asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…”
When Paul prayed for believers, he asked that they would be filled with the knowledge of God and His will. We should desire this for ourselves and for other believers, as well – that we would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and controlled by it.
We want to know the will of God for:
For these things and more, we need the knowledge of the will of God! But how do we gain this knowledge?
God’s will is made known to us through His word. If we want to know His will, we need to be reading the Bible regularly. Spiritual discernment or wisdom comes from the truth we glean from God’s word.
In Matthew 10:16, Jesus tells his disciples to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
Being as wise as a serpent means testing the environment around us and making decisions based on God’s will for us. We are often guilty of making wrong decisions out of wrong motives or because we’re rushed and don’t take time to connect with God. Connecting with God daily helps us to test the environment around us and make wise choices.
Colossians 1 continues, “...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…”
As we are filled with the knowledge of the will of God, we will begin to produce good fruit. We can then begin to live more like Christ. We can start to understand how Jesus did things and pattern our lives around that.
How did Jesus live?
Jesus was fully pleasing to God. We should aim to live like Jesus, fully pleasing to God and full of both grace and truth. We can’t have one without the other – we need both!
If we are planted in the knowledge of God, bearing fruit is natural. Have you ever seen an apple tree struggling to produce fruit? No! It’s not a struggle to produce fruit – it’s given to us by the Holy Spirit when we are planted in the Lord. This fruit (which includes good works) is the evidence that we’re truly followers of Christ!
Colossians 1:11 then says “…being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”
There are many times in life when we are just TIRED! We might feel battered on all sides. Paul experienced this throughout his life. He took hits on all sides, but never in despair. He would see God come through again and again, just in the knick of time!
In our lives, we will see the same thing. We will feel tired and battered, and then – just when we think we might be done for – God will show up. As we witness this faithfulness time and time again, God will grant us strength and endurance. We won’t despair because we’ve seen the faithfulness of God.
We want to have spiritual discernment to do the will of God, we want to bear fruit, we want to walk worthy of Him, and we want to please Him in every way. But why?
Because we know that this world is temporary. It’s a test. What are we doing with what we’ve been given? Are we connecting with God? Are we living for this world or for the unseen world we claim to believe in?
We already belong to the kingdom of God. Revelation 5:10 tells us that God is preparing for us to reign with Him in the future. 2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we endure, we will also reign with him.”
It’s going to be hard! But we should endure.
If we are faithful with little now, then later we will be entrusted with more. We should aim to fulfill our spiritual purposes now because we know this world is temporary. Let’s keep our eyes firmly planted on Him who is preparing to make all things new.
Mandy manages CFC’s social media presence. She started attending CFC in 2016 after God led her to visit the church with her husband, Ben. Mandy also serves on the Writing and Research Team for the Women’s Ministry and as a preschool teacher for Community Kids. She is grateful for the opportunity to combine her love of content creation with her desire to serve the Lord. Mandy lives in Lancaster with Ben and their three girls: Elyse, Evelyn, and Ella.