A Study of The Book of Colossians
Praying for a worthy walk
Colossians 1:9-12 SCC 2.12.12
OUR GOAL FOR ONE ANOTHER OUGHT TO BE THE PURSUIT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD 9
This ought to be a high priority concern:
It was for this reason: Hearing of the good report of the Colossian believers in that city from Epaphras, ceaseless prayer was being offered to God on their behalf. That good report included their faith v 4, and their love in the Spirit v 8. Paul never forgot to pray for them when he regularly prayed. Actually this praying had been ceaseless since the day he had heard of their spiritual transformation.
And asking God: So the kind of praying was intercessory praying. It is the general word for ‘praying’ and means to ask, make a petition, or requesting God on one’s behalf. So this praying was focused and directed with an outcome of some kind in mind for the ones on whose behalf requests are being made. All of the imagery here is of energetic, repetitious, deliberate, driven intercessory prayer. The idea is that this kind of praying for these kinds of reasons ought to be a high priority in our praying for one another. Too often this is silent and missing in our prayer requests!
The concern is for knowledge:
That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will: The content of the prayer is for ‘knowledge’. It is not for ‘experience’ or ‘knowledge by experience’. The hope is to be ‘filled’ with this knowledge. The idea is to be filled out to completeness so that this knowledge permeates all of one’s life. The specific knowledge is ‘the will of God’. That is, God’s will as revealed to the prophets and apostles. So it is the knowledge of the will of God, which ought to be our paramount concern for one another. But specifically how should we expect to see the knowledge of Gods will in one’s life?
The knowledge is of putting God’s will to work:
In all spiritual wisdom and understanding: First, the outcome of this knowledge is expressed in all spiritual wisdom. Here it is the idea of applying the knowledge of God’s will to life’s situations. Specifically how the will of God is applied in all of daily life. Second, the outcome of this knowledge is expressed in all spiritual understanding. Here the idea is putting together information, drawing conclusions, and seeing relationships between God’s will and specific life situations. The nature of this wisdom and knowledge is spiritual not fleshly. It has to do with a heavenly kingdom orientation of life. Looking through the lens of how they think in heaven. Then putting that to use in one’s life situation here on earth.
NB: The controlling idea is the significance of the will of God being put to use in all of one’s life situations, relationships, opportunities, ambitions, and decisions. Put to use in a way that appropriately applies God’s mindset in specific ways based on proper understanding of the mind of God. This is what we ought to pray for and work toward in one another’s lives.
THE RESULT OF LIVING OUT GOD’S WILL IS A WORTHY WALK 10
This means living your life by the Lord’s standards:
So that you may live your life worthily of the Lord: Since we live for an audience of One, then make sure our lives are conducted before Him by skillfully putting His will to use. The word means ‘equal weight’ so that believer’s lives are equal to the same standard God expects. That is being holy as He is holy. So a transformed character is demonstrated that meets God’s standards and is worthy of the quality His will reveals to us.
This means living your life so God is pleased:
To please Him in all respects: You have an obligation to take responsibility for your life. That is, to have a worthy conduct that pleases him in every aspect of life and in every way. The outcome of the spiritual nature of the wisdom and understanding of the application of God’s will is a life that is well lived and worth the breathe that sustains it. Paul even fleshes this concept out in his own life when he writes, Therefore, also we have as our ambition whether at home or absent (from the body) to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:9). But what is it that characterizes a worthy walk? There are at least four characteristics of a worthy walk based on knowledge of the will of God applied to life.
A worthy walk is characterized by:
1. A life bearing fruit in every good deed. So a basic component of a life well lived from Gods perspective is one that is fruitful. This fruitfulness will be manifested by every good work or deed. The quality of the work is described as good. The nature of that goodness is compatible with whatever the will of God is in life. God determines what makes a life well lived. The fruit of that life is one consistent with the will of God. We do not get to determine that. The problem in the garden was Eve and Adam determining what was in their best interests instead of submitting to God’s will for that. That is also our problem. The issue for you and me will be who gets to determine what is in our best interests. 1 John 5:3 says, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. The reason God’s people break his commandments is due to their believing that they are burdensome, that His will does not reflect their best interest. Your best will always reside within His will and His commandments reflect His will.
2. A life growing in the knowledge of God. The point of knowing the will of God is so we can ultimately know who God is. This is something that needs to be cultivated in our lives. We grow up by this knowledge. The will of God is a window into the mind and heart of God. Ignoring or spurning or changing the will of God as we live life distances us from knowledge of God. So it seems that we have two decisions in life. One is to pursue life away from the will of God and see what we can get away with. The other is to pursue what seems to be closest to the heart of God through the pathway of His revealed will in scripture. This is the path by which we grow in the knowledge of God.
3. A life of spiritual strength v 11. Here are included three words for strength. One is to ‘be strengthened’. The other is ‘power’. The last is ‘might’. So the idea is being strengthened with all power and might spiritually. All this is according to God’s glorious might. The same might which raised Jesus from the dead (Eph 1:19-20). So the necessity is that we live within the realm of a spiritually strong life—one that is energized by a powerful spiritual aptitude to put to use the will, heart and mind of God in life circumstances. The reason is twofold: (1) for displaying great endurance, which implies not easily succumbing under suffering. In other words, having such spiritual strength that you will not find a way out of the will of God when it is hard. (2) for displaying patience, which implies self-restraint which does not hastily retreat. So not only will one not lose heart but also he will not want to retaliate in life.
4. A life of thankfulness to God v 12. This kind of patient-producing power in life is accompanied by joyfully not begrudgingly giving thanks to God the Father. This concept is everywhere in scripture (1 Thess 5:18; Phil 4:6; Gal 5:22). And what is this thanksgiving centered upon? Three things:
(1) God has qualified us or made us competent. He has made me able and fit for something. Anything I have and anything I am finds its source in God my Father. Pride is artificial inflation. It is making something of myself that is not true. Pride is independence from God. It is really just a bunch of hot sir since it refuses to acknowledge God, His power and ability to make me fit and able in life.
(2) To share in the inheritance of the saints. I am qualified by God the Father to have this inheritance making it possible for me to share in it by His grace. I did not earn it or deserve it. He made me fit for it. This inheritance is the kingdom treasures that belong to us as believers in our new eternal parcel.
(3) It is in an entirely new realm—one in the light. This is the spiritual sphere to which we have been transferred in v 13-14—a new kingdom in which we belong and have our being.
Ø A worthy walk ought to be the result of knowing God.
Ø Steadfastness and patience takes a great deal of power.
Ø Thanksgiving ought to be for spiritual blessings first and foremost.