Filled with the Knowledge of His Will
The first thing Paul reveals is that he prays that the new believers “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” This is a bold request and a tremendous step in the growth process.
“To be filled” is language of completeness. Just like being perfect (Mt.5:48), it is an issue of being consistent with the capacity one possesses. However, it is important to understand what is complete, what it means to be filled. Paul is not praying that they understand the complete will of God for their lives, but that they completely understand God’s will. If we are to experience the process of maturation Paul prays for, it begins by gaining as much knowledge as we are capable of handling according to the current maturity level we possess. This essentially means we cannot approach a knowledge of His will in a half-hearted, careless and casual manner if we are to move forward in a process of growth.
To capture the idea being conveyed in the “filled with the knowledge of God’s will” language, consider a person taking a bottle cap to the ocean, dipping it in and pulling it out. Though the bottle cap is full of ocean water, it does not contain all the ocean. The act, however, was intended to get as much ocean as the capacity of the bottle cap could handle. The cap was completely submerged, not partially dripped in, gaining only a few drops. Clearly, such a bottle cap cannot contain all the ocean, the goal is to fill it full. Consequently, we are to approach God and the knowledge of His will in an eager, active, aggressive fashion, not a lackadaisical manner that conveys insignificance and prevents growth.
As well, this is not a purely academic activity. It requires “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” To be clear, this does not exclude an academic element, but is not limited to such. This is not simply a human being using human reasoning to construct and ascend to a knowledge of God. This is characteristic of a human being humbly connecting with the living God and receiving insight from the Spirit of God (spiritual wisdom) while using one’s God-given mind to assimilate such revelation (spiritual…understanding).
There are three extremes of which we should be cautious. One is the lackadaisical extreme by which we make no significant effort to pursue this process. The second is relying solely on an academic, philosophical process that is over-dependent upon mere human reasoning. The third is wrongly assuming that every whim and random thought that float into one’s mind are messages from the Holy Spirit, failing to practice proper discernment and going off into a misguided “spiritual” tangent that proves to be a distraction to actual Christian maturity under the guise of being ultra-spiritual.
For some, the very thought of being “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” is only for an impressively mature believer. It must be emphasized, however, that this is the first step in the process of becoming mature.
In our next post we will see the reason we are to gain such knowledge.
 When considering the context of Paul’s statement and the audience he addressed, they would not have had massive theological libraries available in which they engaged in in-depth, intellectual research. They had just reunited with God, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit.