World English Bible translation
1:9For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don't cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 1:10 that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Paul had greeted the believers that were in Christ at Colossae. He had praised them for their faith, love and hope. He had praised Epaphras, his fellow servant. He had also told them that the gospel of truth was bearing fruit and increasing all over the world just as it had done so at Colossae. Paul now extends the thanksgiving of this letter by continuing this long, run-on sentence in the Greek.
"For this cause…" For the cause of the gospel of truth, "we… don't cease praying and making request for you…" Paul understood that each church community was important in God's plan. The spread of the gospel of truth depended just as much on the churches of the Lycus valley as it did in the imperial capital of Rome. The word of God had already spread from Jerusalem, far from the centers of power in the world, to Rome and beyond. Each city, each church, each believer was a part of God's plan.
Paul's prayers for these believers are specific. He prays that they "may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…" Paul wants these believers to be engaged from both the heart and the mind, both wisdom and knowledge. When we mature in Christ by allowing Christ to live through us, we can discern the will of God for our lives. God does not hide from His children. What He wants from us is usually quite clear.
"That you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects." I can still remember the terror that this phrase use to send through me when I first came to Christ. How could I ever walk worthy of the Lord who sacrificed His own life for mine? How could anything I ever do be worthy of Him?
As I have lived with this phrase for many years, I have made my peace with it. As my daughter has grown and matured, her development has helped me to understand what Paul is telling these believers. A child can "walk worthily" of a parent when they grow and mature. It does not mean that they will never make a mistake. Mistakes are part of the growth process. They can "walk worthily" when they listen and interact with their parents in ways that show respect and obedience. What God wants from us is not impossible. He has given us His Spirit so that it will be possible for us to achieve His will.
"Bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." Bearing fruit and increasing seem to be prominent words in this passage, don't they? That is because growth is a sign of the working of God in our lives. God is the God of growth. God gives in abundance and increase. We cannot please God by tenaciously refusing to grow. Growth is hard. It stretches us. It pushes us beyond the limits within which we feel comfortable.
Paul piles phrase upon phrase in this section of the letter. He seems to become so excited about his subject that one thought leads directly to the next and they all come pouring out like a torrent. Each phrase is so tantalizing that we are tempted to rush from one to another, and well we should. But as we study Paul's works, we should also force ourselves to stop sometimes and think about the marvelous things that Paul is writing and how they apply to our own lives.
God wants us to bear fruit and He wants us to increase in knowledge about Him. We need to open our hearts to the Spirit of God and allow Him to move us in directions that will cause us to grow. Only God knows the works that will bear "much fruit" in your life. Each time that God uses us to increase His kingdom we learn a little more about Him. This is "increasing in the knowledge of God."
Have you walked "worthily of the Lord" today? Are you increasing in the knowledge of His will in your life?
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