As we approach the beginning of another new year, thoughts often go to how we can improve our lives. What changes do we need to make in our life? How can we grow to be more like Jesus?
At the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Colossae, he was thinking about how they needed to grow. They were a people of faith, love and hope – and these were evident in their lives. But they still needed to grow. Notice his prayer for them.
“For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and 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, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:9-14 CSB).
The first thing Paul prayed to God for them was that they “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” They needed to know God’s will, to understand it and to be able to apply it in their lives. And isn’t this what we need, as well? But how do we get the knowledge that will lead to wisdom and spiritual understanding?
There is only one way we can increase our knowledge of God’s will. We need to be reading and studying what God has revealed to us through the writings of the apostles and prophets. We can wish all we want for more knowledge but it won’t happen until we decide to spend time in God’s word. As we learn more about God’s will and live it in our lives, we will develop greater spiritual understanding and wisdom.
Notice that when we are doing this, we will be living lives that are pleasing to Jesus. This will result in our “bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power.” I’ve not met a Christian who didn’t want to be stronger spiritually. But are we willing to do what it takes to grow? Again we find that growing in the knowledge of God is necessary if we are going to be strengthened with God’s power. God’s word is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). There is real power when we know and can use God’s word in our lives.
This will enable specific areas of growth to be seen in our lives. Paul mentioned three: “so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father.” Endurance. The ability to keep going when things get tough. Patience. To be able to put up with what goes on around us. And joy. Isn’t this what we all long for? To be living a life filled with joy?
These are what we have in Jesus! We have been rescued from sin and are now part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus paid the price for our sins and they are now forgiven.
So what is stopping us from living lives of joy, patience, and endurance? Jesus paid it all so that we can have this type of life, a life that most people are longing for.
In this new year, spend time with God’s word so that we can grow into Christians who are fully pleasing to God.
Readings for next week:
1 January – Happy New Year!
2 January – Philippians 1
3 January – Philippians 2
4 January – Philippians 3-4
5 January – Colossians 1