Stay in School

I am catching up on posting columns published by the Rhea Herald-News. Hopefully, they will each stand alone. But there may be some sequence issues.

“Walk in a manner pleasing to him.” Colossians 1:10

Last week I introduced the prayer in Colossians 1:9-14, saying: “As Paul prays, he gives wonderful pictures of a life that is pleasing to God and the gifts of God to encourage and motivate us as we walk with Christ.”

Paul prays for the Colossians to fully grow in the will of God. Such a life is walking with God—a life that is “fully pleasing to him,” showing itself to have four manifestations. That’s today’s emphasis—and there’s a surprising twist.

First, Paul prays they would be “bearing fruit in every good work” (1:10). So, what are the good works God is leading you to walk in (Cf. Ephesians 2:10)? To answer, insert what Scripture says about the importance of the church in our lives, spiritual gifting, making disciples, and living out the gospel every day right where you are.

Second, he prays for active growth in intimacy with Christ (1:10). A favorite commentary on this for me is Philippians 3:7-10, where Paul emphatically states everything is nothing—“dung”—to the stellar value of knowing Christ. Like a great marriage, closeness grows as the relationship is cherished. Cheryl and I, for instance, have Friday night dates. What if the value of intimacy with Christ were measured by the time we set aside with Him?

The third demonstration of walking in the will of God is God’s power at work in us. Paul seems to have in mind the tests of faith—suffering, etc. The “glorious might” of God in us causes us to be strengthened, to be patient, and brings us joy (1:11). I don’t prefer it, but the hard things and hard times are a primary way God grows us up. Still.

The last result of the will of God at work in us is we worship—“giving thanks to the Father.” Like the first three, this is an ongoing experience. Have you noticed how often Scripture calls us to a lifestyle of gratefulness to God?

Here’s the twist: Good works and continual thanksgiving are active action words (verbs)—we are directly engaged in them. But the growth in intimacy with Christ and the power of God at work in us are passive action words, i.e., we participate in what God initiates. How great it is that God desires to partner with us to make us more like Christ.

What circumstance is God’s will for you right now—where you can grow, “walk” with Christ, and please Him? These things take intentionality. Like my grandson…

I am still recovering from lunch with four hundred fourth graders last Friday for Grandparent’s Day. My grandson has an amazing teacher in a fine school. Yet each night Wilder prepares for school the next day, each morning he gets on the bus, and daily he goes to a school and a very packed room of fourth graders. I couldn’t be prouder.

May we stay in the Colossae school of walking in the will of God.

The Herald-News, September 16, 2015


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