You have doubtless heard the expression “Knowledge is Power.” In educational circles, it’s a popular mantra. We college professor types have to recite it because, frankly, it drums up business. When people want power, we tell them the way to get it is through increased knowledge, and sure enough, OUR purchasing power increases.
Cynicism aside, there is a connection between knowledge and power. In fact, the Bible says that for those who know God through Jesus Christ, greater knowledge of Him is tied to His power.
In Colossians 1:9-10, Paul says he is praying for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. He then says that this knowledge will produce spiritual wisdom and understanding. He goes on to say that this knowledge will then create, in those who receive it, the ability to please God, which will lead to even greater knowledge of God.
So far, that sounds like this knowledge of God’s will that comes from God is pretty powerful already. It enables us to do something that we could not otherwise do– please God in our actions and deeds. It also has the power to produce even more knowledge of God.
Then, in Colossians 1:11, Paul goes on to tell the Colossians that he is praying for something more. The wording strongly implies (especially in the original Greek) that this is tied back to the knowledge of God’s will that he is praying God to give them:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (ESV)
It makes sense that strength and power that come from God must follow and accompany a God-given knowledge of his will. If God gave His power to those who did not know His will or to those who had no desire to do it, He would be working against His own purposes.
Those who don’t know God’s will should not expect Him to give them strength. Those who don’t wish to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord should not expect to see His power.
But, for those of us who have been given knowledge of God’s will, God gives strength “with all power, according to His glorious might.” Imagine how tremendous that is! The strength is not limited and barely sufficient. It is all — all that is needed. The source of it is not constrained or restricted. It is according to God’s glorious might. It is the power of God, who created the universe and sustains it second to second.
That power is the power that you and I can know, see, experience, and be strengthened with if we are granted to know His will and desire to do it. We won’t be on our own, and won’t have to rely on our own strength and ability. Will will have His.
To what end will He give this strengthening to us? It is so that we can do His will in endurance and patience with joy.
Why will we need His strengthening for endurance? Because if we are seeking to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord, we will certainly encounter difficulties, resistance, trials and suffering for the Lord and for the sake of His will. He knows that, and He has the power to keep us doing His will and pleasing Him even through all that.
Why will we need His strengthening for patience? Because if we are seeking to be fully pleasing to God, we will need to wait for Him to bring about His will in His time, not seeking instant relief or vengeance when we are wronged or misunderstood. He knows that, and He has the power to keep us doing His will and pleasing Him even through all that.
Why will we need His strengthening for joy? Because if we are bearing fruit in every good work, we will need to glorify Him by delighting in Him and His will constantly. He knows that, and He has the power to keep us doing His will and pleasing Him always, with joy.
Knowledge of the will of God, that comes from God, is powerful, but God gives it with the power to do His will. Doing His will is beyond our ability, but it is not beyond His. If we know His will, and desire to do it, we will need to seek and rely upon His power, and find the joy of having the endurance and patience that only He can supply.