We live in a world where there is much to do. Occupying time is not a challenge. But knowing how to occupy my time, now that can be a challenge.
I am called to please the Lord. I desire to please Him. But sometimes I wonder how pleasing I really am. I am called to do God’s will. And that is how I want to occupy my time. But sometimes I wonder if I’m missing it. Am I doing enough good with the time I have?
The book of Colossians was one written by Paul to the church in Colosse to encourage them in their faith and love. In the first chapter, Paul writes his prayer for them, a prayer that they would please the Lord and live worthy of Him. From this prayer, we can learn what such a life looks like, and how we too may please our God:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…
Paul has heard of these believers faith in Jesus and their love for their fellow believers. Since they first heard the gospel and understood God’s grace, they have been growing. (Colossians 1:3-6) Good things are happening in the lives of the Colossians, and Paul prays this will continue.
We will always be growing in our relationship with Jesus. Even when things are going well, we need to be seeking Him and striving to know Him more. This should never stop.
… and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Now we get into the specifics of how Paul is praying for these believers. He asks that they would not just know God’s will, but that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will. That the knowing would come from the inside out; God’s Spirit guiding and leading their spirit, so their actions are in line with His will.
To know God’s will, we must let His wisdom get into our hearts and be the leading we follow. In her book The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst says, “Wisdom makes decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.” There is confidence in our walking when we follow the Holy Spirit, and tomorrow doesn’t hold regrets for our actions of today.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way…
Seeking God, striving to do His will, being led by His Spirit, this pleases the Lord. But after reading this part of the passage, I do wonder, is it possible to please in every way? Can I really live a life that is worthy?
In the next few verses, Paul describes what it looks like to do God’s will, pleasing Him and living worthy of Him:
… bearing fruit in every good work…
Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about bearing fruit. Fruit is the overflowing, the outpouring, the produce of a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life. Galatians 5:23-24 describes the fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In this naming of fruit, it’s not a bunch of actions that are listed. Rather, this fruit is about attitude. It is about character. It is not contingent on other people’s reactions or external situations.
When we walk in God’s will, in step with His Spirit, these characteristics of God will be revealed in us and through us, in every good work.
This is what pleases God. This producing of fruit.
… growing in the knowledge of God…
We must never forget that this life is a journey. In our relationship with God, we are always growing. We are always coming to know Him more. Growth pleases God. When we recognize our shortcomings and strive to continually nurture and bear His fruit, this pleases Him.
And as we do come to know Jesus more, we become more like Him, and His Spirit works in our spirit, and that fruit is increased and multiplied in us.
… being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…
Our strength comes from God. We must rest in His power and let it be the source of all we do. Because when we try to do on our own, we get burned out. But when God is our strength, we are able to endure, even during the storms that try to destroy our fruit.
… and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Rejoicing and giving thanks to our Father for who He is and what He has done and is doing gives us strength, because we are reminded of His love, goodness, and sovereignty. And as thanksgiving and rejoicing keep our focus on Him, we are able to follow Him and do His will.
… who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
This is a beautiful promise, a breath-taking blessing. Our Father has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints. He has made us His children, heirs with Christ.
On my own, I would not be qualified to partake in His promises, in this inheritance of righteousness. I would fall short of the standard. I would not be worthy. I could not please.
But the close of this passage gives a different story:
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
We are rescued from the dominion of darkness, from the hold of sin, from the chains of wickedness. And we are brought into God’s kingdom. A kingdom of light, of love. We are redeemed by the blood of His son, and so we are made His children. That which was unpleasing, which divided us from God, has been forgiven.
Because of this redemption and forgiveness, because we no longer live in darkness but in light and love, because we are children and heirs, we can live a life that is pleasing to God. A life that is a continuous growing and knowing more and bearing fruit.
All Scriptures taken from the NIV, copyright 1984
Photo from Unsplash, edited by Jessica Faith