“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased praying 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; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks for the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 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 1:9-14
In the letter to the Colossians, Paul is addressing the people of Colossae as a people he loves dearly and who have been a blessing to Paul’s life.
Paul wants them to know the special place in his heart that they have, and so he writes to them to tell them, amongst other things, that he prays for them.
In Paul’s prayer he is asking the Lord to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will and in spiritual wisdom and understanding. This may sound like a nice prayer, but there is a reason for this, and it immediately follows in the Text: “…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…”
Paul knows that those who follow Christ do not live in stagnate relationships with Him, and need to continue on in not only their knowledge of Who God is, but also in the way that they walk with Him in their current state.
Paul also writes that those who follow Christ should be people that produce fruit.
In 2010, my wife and I moved into our first home and after getting all the moving done, we decided to go and look around the yard at the different plants and trees we had.
In the front yard were two small trees, and one of them was somewhat purple. I had never seen a purple tree before that was not a Japanese maple, and I was curious about what kind of tree this could be. As we examined the tree closer, we saw that there was a small fruit on it. Once we tasted the fruit we realized it was a plum tree.
This is what Paul is communicating in his letter to Colossae. Paul is saying that fruit trees are only known by what fruit they bear. If a tree is not bearing fruit, then it is either not a fruit tree or it is dead.
If we claim that we know and follow Christ, then we should be bearing the fruit of that relationship. There should be observable and consistent spiritual fruit being produced by the believer through the Holy Spirit.
Consider what Psalm 1:1-3 says about the believer:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinner, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”
Paul then goes on to say that the believer should be someone who is consistently growing in the Lord. A good question for those that are in Christ is to ask “How does my relationship and knowledge of God compare to where I was this time last year?” Believers must recognize that a Christ-centered relationship is not an indifferent one.
Towards the end of the passage, Paul writes, “…giving thanks for the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
This verse shows something that is foundational to a Christian understanding: God qualifies believers, not the other way around. There is nothing that a person can do that will justify them before God. Christians must rest in the work of Christ and because of God’s love and work, Christians are able to rest.
Paul wants the Colossians to understand it is the Lord who qualifies them and in that qualification they can find their rest as they grow in their knowledge and wisdom of Him.
The Lord has delivered the saints. The Lord has transferred people from darkness to light. The Lord is why Christians share in the inheritance of Jesus and His glory. The Lord is why man can know of God and why man can be reconciled back to his Creator. The will of the Lord accomplishes this; not man (Isa 46:9-11).
Paul is establishing at the beginning of his letter to Colossae that God is the one who acts and that man is the beneficiary of such action. He is telling the Colossians that because of God’s action towards them, they are to act imaging Christ to the world.
Christians must understand that while they are those who benefit from what Jesus did on the cross; they are to benefit others by sharing the knowledge of God’s great love for His creation. They are to share this love by speaking it, living it and bearing the fruit in their lives of this great love.
Paul is praying that the Colossians grow in wisdom and spiritual understanding, but not so that they could be puffed up believers in ivory towers looking over lost people with spiritual superiority. He is praying that they would grow in their knowledge of God so that they would learn more about their great need for Him and His great love for the world.
Believers get to rest in what Christ has done in their lives, and because of this loving act, they get to love others well through showing them the love of Christ. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Believers must bear this fruit and know that even Paul has prayed for them to do so.
So today, ask yourself “Am I growing in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord? Am I someone who is sharing what I received from the saving act of Christ? If not, why not?” The Lord desires none to perish. Christians must live, love, serve and speak as Christ did.