Colossians: Walking Worthily

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That you might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14)

We should always pray for God to fill us with the knowledge of His will. Knowing God's will requires spiritual wisdom and understanding. Remember James says "If anyone lacks wisdom, we should ask God for it, and He will give it, generously and without finding fault with us!" (James 1:5) It is essential to know the will of God in order for us to live a life that is worthy and will please Him in every way.

What does a life that is worthy and pleasing to God look like? There are four distinguishing characteristics listed here:

  1. Being fruitful in every good work. Jesus said "In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you shall be my disciples." (John 15:8)
    He also pointed out that we are known by our fruits. "You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. (Matt. 7:16-20) This does not mean that we each have to do everything; it means that everything we do should be good, for the glory of the Lord and the furtherance of His kingdom, and our work should bear fruit.

  2. Growing in knowledge of God. Not merely memorizing dry facts, but "rightly dividing the Word" (11 Timothy 2:15) Then,being led by the Spirit to deeper understanding, putting that knowledge into practice. James reminded us to "Be DOERS of the word, not just hearers of it." (James 1:22) True knowledge changes us, and changes our actions. It is by putting knowledge into action that we please God. To do this, we must spend time alone with Him. You never get to really know someone without spending time with them. This needs to be a daily priority for a Christian. We need to seek Him, realizing and believing His promise that when we seek Him, he will be found.

  3. Growing in patience and endurance. These verses tell us it is God who strengthens us with all power (His power, not our own!) according to His own great might. In other words, He provides us with His own strength to be able to have patience and endure. We cannot do it on our own. What a relief to finally realize we don't have to do it all by ourselves! Patience and endurance are gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Galations 5:22) The two go hand in hand, and both are necessary to our spiritual growth. Too many times we give up, having lost patience, or give in, unwilling to endure in the face of difficulties. That is not pleasing to God. To patiently endure is pleasing to God, and will be rewarded. As always, Jesus is to be our example, and He never asks us to do what He has not also done. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross," (Heb. 12:2) James reminds us that those who endure are blessed: "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)

  4. Joyfully giving thanks to God. Joy is also a gift of the Spirit (see Galations 5:22) It is unlike happiness, in that our happiness depends on our circumstances and our feelings, whereas joy is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. Joy is not dependent on outward circumstance, but is an inward recognition that God is always present within us, regardless of what is happening in our lives. Therefore, we can be give joyful thanks to God even in circumstances that make us sad or unhappy. One of the measures of our Christian growth is the ability and willingness to praise God and offer thanks in all circumstances. (See Ephesians 5:20) After all, no matter what hardships, trials, and pain we have to face in this life, God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, (i.e.--- saved our souls from hell), and has given us an inheritance in the kingdom of light, through His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He loves, and in whom we have redemption for all our sins! Our loving Heavenly Father has qualified us to share the inheritance of Christ's own kingdom! That alone is worthy of joyful thanksgiving, no matter what else is happening in our lives! Thank you, Lord!

So how can we do all these things? That's a pretty tall order! The answer is, we cannot do these things by our own ability- it is beyond us to do even one of the four for very long. It is God who enables us to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Philippians 2:13 says: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Isn't that a wonderful promise? God never asks us to do anything that He does not empower us to do. Amen!

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