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. May you be 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. 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 (ESV)
This is one of the best and most succinct examples in Scripture of the heart of a pastor for his people. How this must have encouraged the Colossians!
Take a moment to look at the attributes of Pauls prayer, as he describes it. The first thing you notice is that it was ceaseless. Do you know what it feels like to be prayed for always? I hope you do; it is a wonderful thing to have another believer lift you up to the Lord ceaselessly. And it’s a wonderful thing to be the one doing the praying too.
And look at the things Paul was asking God to give them. The first request is that they be filled with knowledge of God’s will and spiritual wisdom and understanding. Have you ever watched, helplessly, the life of a Christian who lacks wisdom? It’s either like watching a slow-motion train wreck or it’s just a further testament to God’s amazing grace that the train wreck is averted. How we need wisdom today! So many times you or I will say “I wish I knew what God’s will is”. I like the way Paul puts it: the knowledge of God’s will is something that we can be “filled” with. In other words, spiritual wisdom is not so much a checklist of truths as it is a living, active Presence in our lives, an overflow of the Spirit that guides our steps and deepens our knowledge of the Father’s ways.
The result of wisdom is, of course, not just more brain activity. It is that high calling of every Christian: to walk in a manner worthy of our Lord, fully pleasing to him. A friend of mine once said “the smile of God is the goal of my life.” So well said – the thought of being fully pleasing to God can seem far away from us when we are in the pit of sin, yet it is possible. It flows out of the filling of spiritual wisdom that God offers us, to point us in the way that is most pleasing to him.
The crescendo continues! Paul prays that the Colossians will be fully pleasing to God, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. In other words, as we live and walk in the spiritual wisdom God supplies, and live it out in obedience, the end-result is fruit that is pleasing to him and that results in a yet larger increase in the knowledge of God, and the blessed circle widens. For as we walk in his ways we become more and more like him.
Paul ends his pastoral prayer with a heartfelt blessing for these people that he loved so much. “May you be 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.”
Strength, power, endurance, patience, joy, thankfulness. These are the marks of the blessed child of God, one who shares in the unfathomable inheritance of the saints in light.
If you are a redeemed citizen of the kingdom of Jesus, may the blessings Paul prayed for the Colossians also fill your life. Many Christians have gone deep in their relationship with the Lord, others of us have only scratched the surface. Yet none of us can fully comprehend the glories, the riches, and the wisdom, understanding, and incomparable love our Father offers us.
“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.”
May wisdom, understanding, obedience, fruit, and ever increasing patience, joy, endurance and thankfulness be yours today.