“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;”
The apostle Paul had a great desire for the church of Colosse to be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all “wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Notice the pattern that Paul presented in this verse. You will notice first there is knowledge, then there is wisdom, and then there is spiritual understanding. In other words, you will never get spiritual understanding unless you first have wisdom, and you will never have wisdom until you have the knowledge of God's will.
Now let's address these three ingredients with which God desires us to be filled. First, there is the knowledge of God's will. You cannot have the knowledge of God's will if you are not listening to instruction. Then, there is wisdom which is applying the knowledge of God's will even though you don't understand it. There are many people who hear the knowledge of God's will, but they don't act upon what they hear. If you don't do what you hear, that is foolishness and not wisdom. Finally, when you are wise enough to follow the knowledge of God's will is when you get spiritual understanding.
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It is worth noting that God did not just say understanding, but that He said spiritual understanding. There are many people who think they know what's right and how to do it, and then there are others who do have a spiritual understanding of what they are doing. Just because you think you know what to do does not make that spiritual understanding. Spiritual understanding is understanding that is of the Spirit. Now, if it is important to have spiritual understanding, how do we get it?
First, you get it through the reading of God's Word. God’s Word is what gives you the knowledge of His will. You will never have spiritual understanding in life if you don't learn to read the Scriptures daily. One great reason to read the Scriptures daily is so that you can get God’s knowledge to apply so that you can get to spiritual understanding.
Second, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the believer into all truth; therefore, you will never have spiritual understanding unless the Holy Spirit is guiding you into God’s truth. You may have understanding without the Holy Spirit filling you, but your understanding will not be spiritual understanding. You cannot have understanding that is of the Spirit if you are not being led by the Holy Spirit.
Third, the preaching of God's Word gives you spiritual understanding. Most preaching is a pastor explaining to his people what he has learned through life and through the study of God's Word. You will find that many preachers are simply giving you spiritual understanding for you to follow when they preach. You will never get spiritual understanding if you don't put yourself under good preaching.
Fourth, follow godly men of old. These men have lived their lives and have proven what is the right way to live and to serve God. Instead of trying to attack the godly man of old, you ought to embrace their lives and follow their examples because God has given us their examples so that we can have spiritual understanding.