“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Paul and Timothy are writing to the faithful brethren at the town of Colosse. Because new roads were built that bypassed Colosse and went through Laodicea and Hierapolis, Colosse was declining. Yet God was calling people to Himself in this dwindling town. Although Paul did not personally plant or even visit the church of Colosse, he was able to build on the work of Epaphras and Timothy by sending a letter, the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians.
In several of Paul’s epistles, we see that problems had risen in the churches, such as the church in Corinth and Galatia. In Colosse, a form of heresy arose which incorporated some Gnostic philosophy. Although Paul spoke briefly to some of these things later in his letter (chapter 2), he didn’t argue each issue in his letter. Rather, he focused on Christ’s preeminence and sufficiency, showing the Colossians that their needs are fulfilled in Christ. Paul reminded them of their position of being dead to sin and alive with Christ, following this with practical instruction.
Colossians chapter 1 is predominantly the prayer of Paul for these saints, along with a declaration about the work of Christ on their behalf, ending with Paul’s purpose : to make known the riches of the mystery of Christ in the believing Gentiles.
Meditation on Verse 10:
From the day he heard of these saints from Epaphras, Paul has not ceased to pray for these believers, with the desire that they be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. He prays and desires this knowledge of God’s will so that these saints “might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
What an epitaph that would be if God could write that on the tombstone of a believer: “Here lies a child of mine who has walked worthy of Me and well pleased Me. The one has been fruitful in every good work and increasingly known and experienced Me.”
That would be a life well lived.
One of my prayers for myself and fellow Christians is that we run the Christian race well and finish well. “Does it really matter? Is anyone keeping note?” you might ask.
“. . . He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Did you know that God is a bookkeeper? Yes, there are books in heaven. I’m not sure if they will look more like a book or a tablet, but God is keeping records to reward accurately. Oh if God could write such words of me in His book as He wrote of David: “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:6-8). He wrote of Christ: “Lo I come to do Thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7).
One day, “the dead, small and great [will] stand before God; and the books [will be] opened: and another book [will be] opened, which is the book of life: and the dead [will be] judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…and whoever [is] not found written in the book of life [will be] cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12).
Friend, it is most vital that our name is in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:23-27), but also eternally significant what is written of us in the books according to our works. Eternal joy is at stake.
“Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”
This is as straightforward as it sounds, although we must not confuse the word knowledge for information. In the Greek, this word “knowledge” implies personal relationship to recognize and fully discern someone, as if you know them.
For all eternity we get to worship the One who is worthy (Revelation 4:11, 5:12-13), and right now we get to live out our worship by walking worthy of Him. “Walking worthy of Him” can be summed up in two words: joyful obedience. As counter-intuitive as it seems (and God’s ways often are!), real joy is found in denying ourselves and pleasing Him (Luke 9:23, John 12:24-25).
Furthermore, God desires and enables us to be fruitful in every good work. Jesus gave us some insight into this in John 15. As we abide in Christ, we will be fruitful and we will experience God increasingly more! To “increase in the knowledge of God” means to grow in my recognition of Him, to grow in a relationship with Him.
Let’s zoom back out a bit to see the full picture. Remember the end goal to walk worthy and know Christ? It’s found in verse 16 and 18: “…all things were created by Him and for Him. . . that in all things He might have the preeminence.”
“. . .The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:19-22).
Let’s inspire and remind one another to walk worthy of God and to know Him which is life eternal (John 17:3).