Today (read: yesterday) I wanted to get back to these verses that Paul and his companions were praying for the Colossians:
10 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, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Can we live this way?
Paul's overarching prayer is that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way. That's a tall order, knowing what sinners we all are, right? But Paul offers up that supplication anyway. Paul prays big. I believe He prays big because He knows what God can do, how God can change people, how God can work out this kind of life in the people of Colosse!
He follows that up with a trio of ways to do so:
- bearing fruit in every good work
- growing in the knowledge of God
- being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might
Obviously we know we can do none of these things on our own. We can try, but looking at that list highlights to me the necessity of God entering in. We can do good works, but they only really bear fruit with God's blessing upon them. We can grow in the knowledge of God, but only if He reveals Himself to us. And, finally, we can only be strengthened with all power by the One who is omnipotent and gloriously mighty.
In all these things, we continue to be dependent upon the work of God. To please Him, we need Him.
Thankfully, He gives us Himself!
As a result, I do believe that we can live this way! We can because of the kindness and love of God. We will not always do it perfectly, but we will move forward because He is moving in our lives.
* * *
Yesterday, I was angry and frustrated looking for something that should have been easy to find and we were late getting out of the house to homeschooling group. In my anger I was picking things up and un-gently (read: forcefully) slamming them down on the table. One of those things was a butter dish that had belonged to my grandmother.
I broke it.
There was no God-honoring going on in that moment. I had to apologize to the kids for my crazy, had to repent of my anger, and now have to buy a new butter dish ... and can never use my gramma's again.
How does this tie in? Well, I think when Paul prays this for the Colossians, he's not expecting them to be perfect and live in some alternative reality where everything is always peaches and cream. No, I think it's in the day-to-day frustrations, the complex political conversations, the "normal" every day life, and so on, that Paul is praying the Colossians will grow.
Can we live as Paul prays?
Yes, because we're works in progress, moving steadily forward from glory to glory under the banner of grace.
What do you think? How does this play out in our life?
* * *
Next we'll look at the so that ...that follows Pauls supplications. Thank you, God, for your Word.