9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:9-14
As we begin to dig into the book of Colossians, the first chapter systematically sets up our framework of thinking before we venture into the main thrust of the book. Following Paul’s greeting to the people of Colossae, Paul outlines the first of a handful of worldviews that should be defining the way the church in Colossae should think as they live out their relationship with Christ. This framework of thinking is not just for the people of Colossae. It is also for the Church today. It is for all believers, in all places, throughout all time. In the same way that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, God’s Word holds the same truth for believers yesterday, today, and forever. Even if our application of God’s Word looks different, the truth remains the same.
In these opening verses, Paul speaks of praying that the people receiving this letter would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. It is interesting to note the source of these traits. The knowledge, wisdom, and understanding all come from God. They are not some neutral traits that man can find on his own. Verse 10 gives us the result of these traits. Paul is praying for these traits to be manifested in the church in Colossae SO THAT they may live a life pleasing to God, bearing fruit, and growing in knowledge.
The end goal is to live a life that is pleasing to God. This is done through our actions and our growth in knowledge of the Lord. Yet, even the ability to do those actions and gain that knowledge is not something that we muster up from within ourselves. God blesses us with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding SO THAT we may live a life that is pleasing to Him. As we grow and mature for the sake of God’s glory, it is not us that gets ANY credit for doing the right things and knowing the right things. Even the source of God’s glory is the work of God in our lives. We are simply instruments in the hands of God, participating in His glory, through the Son, Jesus Christ.
Action Step: Go back and read verses 11-14, identifying the other traits we receive and the actions we do. Find the human participation points in these verses. Then read it one more time, pointing out the source of these traits and actions.