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
What does God expect of us? Paul talks here about living a life worthy of the Lord. Yikes. All of my legalistic roots are coming back to haunt me. I’m prone to feel a little like Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, “I’m not worthy, I…” nevermind.
Paul follows up the idea of living a worthy life with pleasing God in every day. Okay, let’s go dig out the list: no drinking, no smoking, no card playing, no movie going (only applies to theaters. Netflix, Blockbuster, TV versions and mail order are exempt. Are you confused?), no cursing, no almost cursing (gosh, darn, heck, shoot), and many, many more.
The end result is that we can easily feel that God is unpleasable. We can’t be perfect. God expects perfection. Therefore, we will faithfully serve a God who is never actually pleased with us. He’s like a divine parent who has to feed and clothe us, but most of the time, He’s just waiting for us to turn 18 and move out of the house.
But, none of that is actually true. Why would Paul be earnestly praying for the Colossians to achieve something that was unachievable? That doesn’t make any sense.
Paul outlines four areas concerning a worthy life that pleases God:
• Bearing fruit in every good work
• Growing in the knowledge of God
• Being strengthened with all power
• Joyfully giving thanks to the Father
I am always amazed at Paul’s use of the run-on sentence. These six verses are made up of only three sentences. But, this is a very meaty passage, so it’s worth breaking it down. Over the next four devotionals, we are going to explore what each of these mean.
But, for now, what does it mean to you to live a worthy life and to please God? Does that excite you? Does that strike fear into your heart? Does that depress you? Right now, jot down five things that you believe please God and five things that you believe displease God. Then, throw the list away.
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