Spiritual growth and maturity is of concern to most Christians. But, sadly, many do not seem to know what is needed to be able to grow and mature. Where do we find the power that gives us spiritual growth?
When we look at Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Colossae, we discover that spiritual growth was on his mind. He wanted them to grow so that they could live lives that honoured Jesus.
“Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you will live the kind of life that honours and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. The Son paid for our sins, and in him we have forgiveness.” (Colossians 1:9-14 NCV)
Because Jesus paid the price for our sins, and we have accepted that price through our obedience, we have forgiveness and are part of God’s kingdom. By having our sins forgiven we are freed from the power of darkness. We need to replace that with the power given by God. How does this happen?
There are two things Paul was praying that they would have. He wanted them to “know fully what God wants.” How can we know what God wants for us? The answer to that is quite simple: we need to listen to him by spending time with his word. This is not a matter of guess work or trying to “figure out God’s will for my life.” God has told us what he wants of Christians. But this requires us to open his word so that we can learn his will. This is the only way we can discover it.
Paul also prayed that they would “have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things.” Where do we get this? Again, it goes back to listening to God. While knowledge is not wisdom, it is necessary if we wish to gain wisdom and understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” is found throughout God’s word. Wisdom requires that we have a relationship with God and that we know his will.
If we are growing in our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, this will result in our lives being changed. We will “live the kind of life that honours and pleases the Lord in every way.” We will be producing “fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God.” In other words, as we get to know God’s will it will change how we live, both in not doing what we shouldn’t and doing what we should.
It is then that we have access to God’s power. As we live for Jesus, “God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.” And isn’t that what we are wanting? Strength, courage, and patience are available to us.
Although Christians want to grow many are not willing to do what is needed to start growing. It isn’t difficult; it’s quite simple. We need to get into God’s word. We need to learn his will and live it in our lives. Sadly, too many cut themselves off from God’s power by refusing to spend time in his word. It is in his word that we find his power for growth.
Readings for next week:
22 July – Revelation 22
23 July – Colossians 1
24 July – Colossians 2
25 July – Colossians 3
26 July – Colossians 4