“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10 ESV
Since the day the apostles learned of the Colossians’ faith in Jesus Christ, and of the love they had for all the saints of God, they did not cease in praying for them. Their prayer for the Christians in Colossae, thus, is not only a model prayer for what we can pray for one another, as followers of Christ, but it also teaches us what our lives in Christ should look like.
We need to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will for our lives in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And, how do we do that? Well, primarily we learn his will for our lives through the reading and the studying of the Word of God, for there it tells us what his will is for our lives. So, we need to be spending time in the Word of God, learning what it teaches us.
We also learn from the Holy Spirit who lives within those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. He teaches us all things pertaining to Christ and godly living. So, we need to be in tune to his voice, listening to what he tells us, and then we need to be following our Lord in obedience. For, if we don’t obey what his Word says we must do, then we are not going to learn his will for our lives.
We also learn God’s will for our lives through listening to sermons and through reading devotions, and through hearing what other Christians are learning and are saying. But, here we must be very discerning. We must take what we hear back to the Lord in prayer and in his Word, and we must examine what we hear against the Word of God (IN CONTEXT) to make certain that what we are hearing lines up with scripture.
And, we also need to guard against just intellectualizing the Word of God, too. For, the purpose of knowing God’s will for our lives is so that we put his will into practice in our daily lives so that we walk (in lifestyle) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him. And, what is this manner? It is to walk (in practice) in holiness, righteousness, purity, honesty, integrity, and faithfulness, and in love, one for the other, according to God’s will.
So many people these days are teaching that God is fully pleased with us no matter what we do just because we believed in him. But, that just isn’t true.
The scriptures are real clear that we need to find out what pleases God and then we need to do what pleases him. And, it is real clear from scripture that what pleases him is when we walk according to his will and to his ways. It is when we listen to him, and we walk in obedience to his commands, and when we love others with his love, and when we forsake our sins and our idols to walk in holiness, separate from the world and separate unto God.
Then we will bear fruit in every good work and we will increase in the knowledge of God. And, that fruit is the fruit of the Spirit, and it is changed lives and hearts, and it is loving others with God’s love, and it is making a difference in other people’s lives. And the knowledge of God is not just head knowledge so that we can show how much we know, or so we can win arguments. It is applied knowledge to our everyday lives.
“… being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:11-12 ESV
For us to walk the walk that the Lord has for us to follow, we need his power and we need his strength and wisdom and understanding. We just can’t live the Christian life in our own strength and willpower. We don’t have what it takes, because of ourselves we are flesh, and this is not a walk in the flesh. This is a walk in the Spirit, of the Spirit of God, and empowered by the Spirit of God. And, it involves us yielding to the Spirit of God with our lives.
So, our Christian walk is not works-based salvation. It is not us performing for God hoping to be good enough for God. It is not just following a set of rules, either, which we then check off to show how good we are. It is us humbled before God in submission to Christ as our Lord. It is us yielding control of our lives over to the Spirit of God, and allowing the Lord to direct our steps and for us to walk in his ways in his power within us. And, it involves us daily saying “Yes!” to God and to holiness, and “NO!” to sin.
And, when the road gets rough, and we come up against obstacles, and we face opposition and persecution for our walks of faith, our flesh is not what is going to get us through it all. We have to rely on the strength and wisdom of God to endure and to keep pressing on and to do so with joy and in peace. But, that is only going to happen as we yield control of our lives over to God, and we follow in his ways, and we do what he says to do.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 ESV
The Christian life is spiritual, and thus it must be lived in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Therefore, we can’t determine our own course, or decide what is best for us, or make our own rules regarding what we can and cannot do. And, we must not create our own God in our own image who will agree with how we want to live our lives, either. Yet, this is exactly what many people do who call themselves Christians.
Also, the Christian life is not a slightly cleaned up old life. And, it isn’t just a free ride into heaven, either, which costs us nothing. For, the free gift of God’s grace instructs (demands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts (worldly passions) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Eph. 4:17-24).
The free gift of God’s grace, too, is deliverance out of our slavery to sin, and it is empowerment to now walk in holiness in the power of the Spirit of God in lives which are pleasing to God and for his purposes and glory (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-24; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Thus, our Lord requires of us that we now walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God and that we no longer walk (in practice, in conduct) according to our sinful flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. For, our eternal life with God is not guaranteed us on a confession of faith, but on a walk of faith in the power of God’s Spirit alive and at work within our hearts as we cooperate with that work of grace.
I know that is not what a lot of you have been taught, but it is what the Bible teaches. And, in fact, it says that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, that we are going to die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. So, please know the truth, believe the truth, and follow the truth, for the truth will set you free (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-24; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!