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According to His Glorious Might

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Colossians 1:9-12
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
a. We have been called to grow in the knowledge of God (1:9)
i. Verse 9 starts with a beautiful reality of the church. This church teaches us what we are to do when we hear of good news in the church. Whenever we have a reason to thank God, we are to first give thanks. We recognize that God is the giver of all good things and this church understood this. Notice the statement that Paul writes here. For this reason, since the day we heard of it. The very moment we heard of the good news of how they were bearing fruit and growing in love for one another in the Spirit, they did not cease to pray for these people. What’s amazing here is the constancy of their prayers on the behalf of others.
ii. Paul and Timothy model for us how we as Christians should live. How have we been called to grow in our knowledge of God? Paul tells us clearly that it is to pray. It is through Prayer in verse 9 that Paul prays that they would grow in their knowledge of His will and all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Prayer is the means in how we deepen our spiritual walk. It is through prayer that we see how God is working in our lives. This is just another reminder of the importance of prayer. Why do we pray? We pray because we recognize our own inability and our need and dependence on God. When we think of great men and their prayer lives, we think that it’s mainly about discipline. There is a great deal of disciple in the lives of godly men and women. But the greatness in these men and women is not their discipline. Their greatness is their reality and understanding that without prayer, they can do nothing. What makes these men and women great is not their discipline, but the great God that they serve. You see, all great men and women trusted and relied on God. They knew that without God, their lives would be nothing. The power was not in the disciple. The power was in the one in whom they trusted. Therefore, they were in constant prayer because they needed God.
iii. This is a realization for many of us. Myself included, we don’t pray enough. We say this nonchalantly and think it’s just understood. The reality is, we just accept it. But the question at this junction is, do we care? Do we think that just because its normal with everyone else, this is the norm? Paul is reminding us that this is not okay. Paul is reminding us that our lives should be a constant reliance and a life of constant prayer.
iv. I don’t want people to think that prayer is easy. Prayer is the hardest thing to do. Why? Think about it. When we sit down to study or we sit down to watch television, it’s because we will gain something out of it. If we study and we obtain our degree or whatever we sought out to earn, it’s for our benefit so people will try to study. They will make time for it. If we watch television, people will do this because it entertains them. The same goes for everything. But what about prayer? It’s hard because many people don’t see the gratification from prayer. A lot of people don’t think that it’s a profitable way of using our time. This is why we don’t pray.
v. It’s even the difference between reading the Word and studying the Word and praying. Why don’t we pray? Because we know they are equally both important. But we like to study the word and preach more because others can hear us and tell us how great we are. People who pray don’t show off about their knowledge or faith. It’s not something that is visible. Rather, it’s something that is inward.
vi. But that’s not even the reason why it’s the hardest thing to do. It’s the hardest thing to do because Satan will try with all his effort to stop us from praying. He will cause us to be distracted, he will cause different things to happen so we can stop praying and pay attention to those things. You see the Devil is a master at deceiving us. He deceives us by telling us there are things more important than prayer. Nothing is more important than spending time with God. No relationship is more important than your relationship with God. If our prayer lives suffer, it’s because we believe things about God, rather than have a relationship with God. Prayer is how we grow our relationship with God.
vii. I keep saying this and I’ll keep saying this till I die. No relationship, nothing in our lives that we value will remain to have value if we don’t invest in it. We can say that we care about our relationship with God, that we love God, and yet, if we are not praying, everything is nullified. Remember James 1? James tells us to prove ourselves as doers. Don’t just hear and immediately forget. Keep doing it. It’s practical and it reveals our heart. If we truly trust in God, we will regularly converse with Him. It’s like something that we learn. When I learned Spanish in school, and regularly practiced it, I remember more and I become more proficient in it. It’s the same thing with prayer. If we practice it more, and if we do it more regularly, than it becomes easier to do. Our prayer lives are boring and dull because we don’t practice it and we feel awkward about it. It’s like meeting someone that you don’t know well and trying to start a conversation. It’s awkward because we don’t know the person well and it’s not someone we know well. But if we were to meet an old friend and we kept in contact with them for a long time, we would have no problem talking with them. Why? Because we constantly spend time with them. This is the same with prayer. If we spend time with God alone, then it’s normal.
b. We have been called to share our lives with one another (1:10-12)
i. Verse 10 tells us the result of prayer. It tells us the result of our growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God. It’s not so that our heads become filled with more truth. Rather, it’s for a purpose and action. Paul tells us the most important lesson in verse 10. He tells us that as we grow in our wisdom and understanding of God, it should cause something inside us. He tells us that we would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
ii. What Paul is asking us here is, are we growing? Are we growing in our knowledge in the Lord, where we are walking in a manner that is worthy of the Lord? What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord? Paul tells us right after, to please Him in all respects. In whatever we do, do all for the glory of God. This is the same thing that Paul writes to us in 1 Corinthians 10:31. Whatever you eat or drink, do all for the glory of God. Whatever we are called to do, we must do to the glory of God, to please Him in every task we do in our lives.
iii. But what Paul adds at the end of verse 10 is critically important. How are we to please God in all respects? Bearing fruit in every good work, doing everything we do to please God, but at the end here, he writes increasing in the knowledge of God. What does it mean to increase in the knowledge of God here? When we are bearing fruit and living to please God in everything, we start to realize the greatness of God’s love for me. You see when you live to please God in everything, you realize how hard this task really is. We start to realize that honoring God in all our relationships, in all our thoughts, in all our actions, is incredibly difficult. This is where we start to realize God’s great love for me. This is how we personalize God’s love.
iv. It’s like the phrase, you won’t know the love of your parents until you become a parent. That statement makes a lot of sense when you actually have your own children. I recently read about the shooting in the elementary school in Uvalde. There a mother ran into the school to go try to save her children even though the shooter was in the school. People can say that was a dumb thing to do, but you don’t understand the love of the parent until you are a parent.
v. It’s the same thing. We don’t realize the love of God for us until we practice the love of God towards others. The love of God is distant from us because we don’t bear fruit in every good work. If we only do what is comfortable and convenient for me, then you won’t grow in every good work. But when you do things you don’t want to do for the sake of others, because of our commitment to God, you realize the great love in which God loved us. Loving others should never be a chore. It should be a fruit of realizing God’s love for me. It’s a two way street. When you learn to serve others, you realize God’s love for you. In the same way, this grows your love for God which causes you to sacrifice more for others. This is how we please God in every good work.
vi. How are we to do this Paul? Paul tells us in verse 11, strengthened in all power, according to His glorious might. How do we bear fruit Paul? Through the strength that only God can supply. This makes no sense if we don’t live to serve others. This is that christianese which sounds great on paper. We can say amen to verses like this, but if we are practicing this, it’s hard to say amen. Why? Because working and serving others is much harder than working to serve yourself. This is why Paul writes in verse 11, unless God supplies you with this strength. What is this strength? The strength is to remind us of God’s love for me. The greatest motivation for the Christian ministry is to be reminded of God’s love for me. The Gospel is a reminder that Christ died for me. Christ came to die for my sins. He died for me because He knew that apart from Him, I would die in my own sins. He knew that I could not pay the debt of my sins and that is why He came.
vii. This is how God gives us strength. He gives us conviction so that we would work for His glory. This is the strength that He provides. It is not supernatural strength like Superman. Rather, He gives us strength to keep going by reminding us and showing us the great love in which He loves us.
viii. It’s also important to understand what Paul is saying here. It is according to His glorious might, His strength that allows us to attain all steadfastness and patience. We must note there is a slight difference between the two terms. The former is what faith, hope and love bring to an apparently impossible situation, the latter what they show to an apparently impossible person. So when Paul wrote this prayer, it is that they would be steadfast through difficult trials through their growth in the knowledge of God, so that when they face difficulty in serving others, they would have patience in God knowing that God will provide them strength.
ix. This gift of strength that we receive, when we exercise to serve others, is the reason we give thanks to God. This is the sustaining power of God. When we serve others, He enables us to live in the world with patience and praise for Him. What people don’t understand is that God grows us through serving others. Serving others is the exercise to our Christian muscles that causes us to become stronger. This obedience to Him in serving others is what grows us into maturity. The more we serve others, the more we realize we need Christ more. In turn, this love for Christ, this growth in Christ is what enables us to love others more.
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