By Allen White
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 1:10-11 (NIV)
Endurance, patience, and joyful thanks seem like the products of much hard work. At times, they also seem like an uphill climb. But, remember the Bible is not meant to beat us up, but rather to show us God’s vision for our lives.
These three (endurance, patience, and joyful thanks) are the products of God’s work in our lives. Paul clearly states that God’s work in us starts with rescue and redemption made possible by “being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.” And, that’s just the start.
Then we encounter a measuring stick that strikes fear into the hearts of those of us who were raised in a performance-based or legalistic setting: “live a life worthy of the Lord and…please him in every way.” Okay, time to cash in our chips (except that we’re not allowed to gamble.) I can’t live a life like that. You can’t either. Nobody can. But, where did we get the idea that a “worthy” life is a perfect life?
Paul goes on to give us the steps to a worthy life: “bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might…” How do we bear fruit? We bear fruit by being connected to the vine (John 15). How do we grow in the knowledge of God? How do you grow in the knowledge of any person? Sure you can google their name, but don’t we get to know people more deeply by spending time with them. God is everywhere. It’s very easy to get with God. Then, there’s the strength that comes from His glorious power again.
The result of bearing fruit, growing in knowledge and being strengthened is endurance, patience and joyful thanks.
For those of us who have been driven to perform, we have simply been working too hard at the wrong things. We have been inventing godly behavior apart from God’s power. No wonder we run out of steam.
Try something today. Choose two five minute appointments with God today. Start with two minutes of silence and focus on God. Then, read this Scripture passage again. End with two more minutes of silence. I started this practice about 60 days ago. It’s not a lot of time, but just stopping what I’m doing and acknowledging that my life and my work depend on God Himself is a transforming experience.
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