knowing and willing

"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  (Matthew 6:10 ESV)

"If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." (John 7:17 ESV)

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."  (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

Is the knowledge of God merely an activity of the mind? What is the relationship between the mind and the will when in comes to knowing God in a living way? How does the desire to do God's will, and to obey, relate to a true knowledge of God? 

Abraham Kuyper (1837--1920), Dutch theologian, church leader, and prime minister of the Netherlands, wrote about this... 

Being and Will in God are not two, but one. God’s will is the crystal-pure expression of his Being. Hence knowledge of God’s will becomes of itself knowledge of his Being.

It is the Lord who inspires the will to act, and in action to direct it for good. It is he “who worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), and how could the Lord be bound to sermon or lecture? 

Intellectual attainment is not enough.

Whether life is limited or large, makes no difference. Even though it wears on like the quiet flow of a gentle stream, every day the knowledge of God can be enriched by it, and we can increase in everlasting life; a queen on her throne as well as the farmhand behind the plow, a professor in his study who is no better than he who moves the shuttle in the loom.

By doing willingly what God wills us to do, we increase in the knowledge of God; not in barren book-knowledge, but in living soul-knowledge, which is itself eternal life.

Our willingness is not born from us, but is wrought in us by God.

Thus he transforms us, and also the willing in us. It is God who worketh in us, not only our emotions, but also our willing, by transforming “the self that wills.” When we understand it this way, it is plain that there is a constant holy entering in of God’s will into our will, thanks to this purifying and refining and transposing of our inmost selves. This work goes on in us mostly unobserved and unperceived, so tenderly and gently does God’s hand direct the task.

And to be more and more transformed after the image of God only means that God’s will ever more deeply enters into our will, which in turn means an ever better understanding of God, a better knowledge of him, and an ever-clearer insight into his will and purpose.

Excerpts from: To Be Near Unto God (1901-1905)



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