In Colossians 1:9-10 Paul prayed: “That ye may be filled with the full knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so as to walk worthily of the Lord unto all well-pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work” (JND). Do you want to live a life that is worthy of the Lord? Or do you just want to live your life to satisfy your own ambitions, so long as it isn’t, in your opinion, contrary to the Lord? There’s a big difference! This article seeks to awaken in you a deep desire to “walk worthily of the Lord.” “Walk” is the Greek word used here and in many other places to speak of Christian conduct, not pursued sporadically, but consistently as a life-long, all-embracing, purposeful lifestyle. Does living for Christ alone touch a longing chord in you, especially when you consider that He died for you? Who else would you want to live for, if you are bought by His precious blood?
Living “worthily of the Lord” requires, as Paul’s prayer tells us, that we “be filled with the full knowledge of His (God’s) will.” In the context this means knowing what He wants our moral character to be. “Worthily of the Lord” means that in God’s estimation our “walk” must be like the walk of the Lord Jesus Himself! The word translated “worthily” has the root-meaning of “weighed in the balance.”
Before modern internal-balances were invented, the thing being weighed (our life) was placed on one pan of the balance scale and compared to the correct standard weight (the Lord’s life) on the other pan. Everything we do in life must be such that everyone will say, “That person is a true Christian. That person is Christlike.”
How would the Colossian Christians walk worthy of the Lord? Paul went on to pray in Colossians 1:10-12 (NKJV) that their walk would be: “fruitful,” “increasing,” “strengthened” and “thankful.”
A walk that is “fruitful in every good work” springs from a character of life so complete that it brings pleasure to God in everything it does. In John 15:1-8 the Lord Jesus referred to the necessity of His disciple’s abiding in Him, the true vine, to achieve this objective.
A walk that is “increasing in the knowledge of God” is that of someone’s growing in and by the knowledge of God. This knowledge is what brings growth. It is like the branches of the natural vine receiving sustenance from the plant itself.
A walk “strengthened with all might” is one that is fortified for the many difficult experiences of Christian living. Christians are strengthened not for performing supernatural acts but for walking steadfastly and being able to endure life’s trials. Spiritual strength is also needed “for all long-suffering” towards those who prove to be contrary either to the Christian message or the Christian way of life. Paul recognized that we need to be strengthened, according to the manifested power of God’s glory, to exhibit these features of patience and long-suffering with joy. It goes beyond merely putting up with adverse circumstances or difficult people.
Walking worthy of the Lord is also characterized by thankfulness. It is the walk of those who “give thanks to the Father,” the source of all of our blessings in Christ. Colossians 1:12 explains why: “The Father … has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” The amazing fact is that we share together the inheritance, the place of coming glory in and with Christ (Eph. 1:11).
Our ability to respond to the Father comes from His having fully fitted us for this glory. He rescued us out of the control of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, conveyed us out of the domain of darkness and into the new and eternal order. In this kingdom Jesus is Lord, and we must show this by our lifestyle as we walk worthy of Him (Col. 1:3; 2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2).
The Colossian letter is designed to show that living faith in a crucified, glorified Christ must show itself in every sphere of Christian living – assembly life, family life and secular life (3:10-4:6). Paul urges the Colossians to repudiate the disobedient way of life of unbelievers, “in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (3:7-10).
This is different from deciding what clothes to wear. It is making a conscious decision to put on the new man, to reproduce the characteristics of Christ! Paul tells us that to achieve this we must depend on Christ: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (2:6-7). It is because we are complete in Him that we can exhibit Him in our everyday walk.
But what about our relationships with unbelievers whose lifestyle was once ours? Paul answers: “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (4:5-6). This exhortation follows Paul’s request for the prayers regarding gospel opportunities and proper use of them (4:3-4). Thus his exhortation is in the context of effective witness. Therefore “redeeming the time” means making the most of every gospel opportunity presented to us. However it will only be effective if it is backed up by a Christlike lifestyle (3:8-4:1). This applies especially to our speech, which as 4:6 states must be “always with grace, seasoned with salt.” Our conduct should never compromise the truth of the gospel nor condone wrong. We must always retain a balance between “grace and truth” (Jn. 1:16-17).
By David Anderson
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org