devotion 10-6-15

Colossians 1.9-14

9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s* will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled* you* to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.*

Because he has heard of their faith and their love, of the hope they have in Christ – ever since hearing of them from Epaphras – Paul has been praying for them. He prays that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This has been the topic of our current sermon series, as we have talked about how we grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s will. We must, first of all, yield our own will to God’s – it can no longer be “all about me”, but we must ask what God wants. We must pray, study scripture, and meet in community with other Christians in order to discern God’s will in our lives.

And Paul goes on – “so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.” It is not enough to say, “Christ is Lord”, if Christ is not Lord in our hearts. When he truly fills our hearts, then it shows in our lives. We seek to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, a way that is worthy of him. And as we live that way, good works bear fruit – people see in us the love of God. People who are worthy of the Lord are people who live in that way, loving their neighbors, not judging others or telling others they are sinners. Nor are we finished, as in the sense of graduating from “finishing school”, when we commit to Christ. We must continue to grow in his will, to grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s will. His grace will help us grow, but we must be in partnership with him.

Paul asks the Lord to make them strong in his glorious power, prepared to endure whatever comes along with patience, joyfully thankful. For these early Christians that may have been persecution. Even so, God has enabled them to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He explains that statement – for God has rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his Son, the kingdom of light. In him we have redemption – the forgiveness of sins. We need the strength of the Spirit in our lives, for living into God’s will is not something we can do on our own – we need help. And yet, in his grace, God has brought us out of whatever darkness we had lived in before, and into the light of Christ, along with all the other saints. For Christ has redeemed us – our sins are forgiven. Our hope is in him.

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