Prayer For A Worthy Walk
“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; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
Walking with God Begets an Enlarged Sense of Duty
As a closer walking with God begets an enlarged sense of duty, it also produces an increased realization of the difficulties attending the performance of it. As the natural man in his youth is full of vigour and hope, and in his inexperience and impetuosity rushes into engagements for which he is unqualified and is forward to rashly embark upon ventures which later he regrets, so the young Christian, on fire with affection and zeal, attempts tasks for which he is not fitted and then smarts for acting presumptuously. But in the school of experience he discovers something of his ignorance, his weakness, the inconstancy of his heart, and learns to distinguish between the natural energy of the flesh and true spirituality. God has made him to know something of wisdom ‘in the hidden part’ (Psa. 51:6), which works in him self-diffidence and holy fear. He becomes more dependent upon God, more diligent in mortifying his lusts, more humble in his approach to the throne of grace, more frequent in crying, ‘Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law’ (Psa. 119:34).
Thus the babe in Christ will not advance very far along the Christian path before he realizes how perfectly suited to his case in the opening petition of this prayer. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will becomes his ever deepening desire, and that ‘in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.’ Those added words intimate, first, the sort of knowledge for which the Christian is to pray and strive: not merely a theoretical but an experimental knowledge, not simply in the letter but in the power of it, an inward, affectionate, operative knowledge wrought in the soul by God. As we saw when examining Philippians 1:9, light is needed to direct our activities; instruction is needed that we may act judiciously. Heavenly wisdom is required that love may have a proper sense of the relative worth of objects, and suitable guidance in every instance of its exercise. Holy affections are no more all heat without light than are the rays of the sun, but are induced by spiritual instruction received into the mind. The child of God is graciously affected when he perceives and understands something more than he did formerly of the character of God, the sufficiency of Christ, the glorious things exhibited in the gospel. Such knowledge of those objects produces in him wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Paul’s opening petition was for something more than a bare acquaintance with the divine will; rather it was a request that the saints should be brought to a fuller and more acceptable obedience. The ‘knowledge’ of God’s perceptive and authoritative will is a practical and operative one, evidenced in a worthy walk. The babe in Christ has the principle of obedience in his heart (divinely communicated grace and holiness), but it needs feeding, strengthening, quickening, illuminating, directing, so that the believer may act aright and perform those things which God has appointed, not those which human tradition has invented, or which natural sentiment or personal inclination may dictate. We saw that this came first in the prayer of Ephesians 1: ‘That God . . . may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge [and ‘acknowledgment’, margin] of him’ (verse 17). It also was made the opening petition for the Philippian saints: ‘That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgment’ (1:9). Thus we see the prime importance of this blessing.