according to all that he promised.
There has not failed one word of all his good promise,
which he promised by Moses his servant.
Romans 8:15 (WEB)
The Foundation of Wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp. How can fearing God make us wise?
First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.
If we commit ourselves to living for God’s purposes rather than our own, we will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable us to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our life. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.
But if we reject God’s instructions, we dishonor Him with our refusal to acknowledge His right to rule our life. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think we can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.
What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly revere Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. The result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.
God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.
Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).
Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.
The Power of Prayer
Philippians 4:6 says that it’s good to bring requests to the Lord, and we do often ask Him for certain blessings, desired outcomes, and healing for loved ones. But there are times when, in God’s omniscience, He determines that a “no” would ultimately result in greater good.
So, what supplications can you be sure are in accordance with His will? Paul recorded specific petitions he made on behalf of the Colossians, and you can offer these life-changing prayers for people in your own life as well.
First, request that they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In this way, you are asking God to give them direction and the ability to see life from His viewpoint.
Second, ask that they “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). The only way to succeed in this is through the control of the Holy Spirit—He fills hearts with a longing for God and creates the desire to please Him through obedience.
Third, pray that their life would count (v. 10). There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful. Many Christians assume that to have an impact for God, they must volunteer in numerous ministries at church or become a missionary or pastor. But the truth is, effectiveness in God’s work depends on what He calls each person to do.
Too often, Christians pray for others only during hardships. But Paul continuously lifted up the Colossians to our Father (v. 9). As you mention others by name to the Lord, consider the areas that the apostle addressed.