Sunday, January 26, 2014

A life worthy of the Lord?

What does it mean to live a life worthy of the Lord and to please him in every way (Col. 1:10)? Fortunately, Paul gives us some clues in the text immediately following.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
  • bearing fruit in every good work,
  • growing in the knowledge of God,
  • 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have
    • great endurance
    • and patience,
  • joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:10-12
Bearing fruit in every good work: what does that mean? One thing is that spiritual wisdom, the wisdom from above, is "full of mercy and good fruits" (James 3:17, mentioned earlier). That is, as we are steeped in spiritual wisdom, our lives will bear good fruit.

This reminds me of something Jesus said in John 15: "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." Like the disciples, we must remain in Christ to bear fruit. Jesus also said that no good tree bears bad fruit (Luke 6:43), and the reverse; if my life bears good fruit, or the fruit of good works, it can only be because I've been transformed into a good tree. Indeed, Paul tells us to be transformed, so that we can show what (surprise!) the will of God is (Romans 12:2).

That we need help to be transformed is not a reason for despair; consider rather the promise: Paul prays for these Colossians that they would be full of the knowledge of God's will, in order that they can do all this stuff. I think this means that if we're filled with the knowledge of God's will, he'll transform us.

Which reminds me that there are a number of these commands: "be transformed" as above, "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5), "be holy," i.e., be set apart by God (1 Peter 1), not to mention "Be perfect" (Matthew 5)—for which we seriously need help.

Something about this new way to be human, then, is this: though our natural tendency is to be independent (to go our own way), the truth is that [1] we need help to live a good life, a fulfilled life; and [2] God wants to give us that help.

And that as he helps us, our lives will bear fruit in every good work. A God-pleasing life—may he grant that to you and me.

No comments: