Have people heard of your faith and love for the body of Christ? Faith in Jesus and the love of God is the foundation, the first fruits of our “born again” conversion. Only upon faith and love can God add the increase of wisdom and knowledge of His will.
Colossians 1:9-11 “9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for a patience and longsuffering with joy;”
Notice that when Paul had heard of their faith and love from Epaphras he prayed for them to increase in knowledge and wisdom which are the first two gifts of the Spirit as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Note that he is praying for them after they have received Jesus as their Lord and savior. Paul, more than anyone understands the spiritual battle the devil puts in front of believers, but his prayer for knowledge and wisdom is not so they can hold on to their salvation; it is so they can flourish in it. James 4:8 which states to draw near to God and He will draw near to you is often misunderstood as though we are not close enough to God, but that is far from the truth. A person in Christ cannot get any closer to God than Him living inside of you, but through Godly wisdom and understanding the relationship and oneness with God can increase. If you read verses 1-7 in James 4 you realize he is speaking to believers who have begun to act and think carnal. Paul warns us of this in Romans 8:5-6 in that if we stay in carnal thinking we are not in the Spirit. The carnal mind is enmity to God, and Paul is aware that if Christians stay in the “works” mindset of overcoming where they are staying conscience of the sin in their life in effort to overcome it, they will fail. (Romans 7:11-25) Man cannot accomplish anything righteous in his natural flesh. In verse 9 of Colossians Chapter 1, Paul is telling the Colossians how to maintain in the fullness of God. We can never get any closer to God than to have Him live in us, which He does for those who accept Jesus as their Lord and savior. We can, however, miss out on the grace and peace of God by not having the knowledge and wisdom from God. In Galatians 4:1 Paul tells us that a child, even though an heir, is no different than a slave being told what to do and where to go. Paul is praying for and encouraging the Colossians and us to grow up in Christ and learn more of the word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth which is Godly wisdom and spiritual understanding. I tell people often, you can pray all night, and sing praises all day, but if you don’t give the Holy Spirit something to work with while He is teaching you, (the Word of God) than He is severely limited at what He can do and teach.
In the first chapter of Colossians it is clear that God wants the lives of the Colossians and ultimately Christians to be full and fruitful in every good work. Nowhere does the word of God suggest His children are to be beggarly, or live in substandard conditions. On the contrary God wants His children to be “light” in this world pointing toward Him and leading others into the same knowledge. To have a walk worthy of the Lord, in verse 10, is not saying we have to live a perfect and sinless life; we can never do that. A life worthy of the Lord is to trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. A walk worthy of Jesus is to live in His grace and abundance. I am not going into prosperity preaching, but God does want us to be blessed while here on earth both naturally and spiritually. To live in peace with God is great gain and many Christians today fall short in obtaining that level of confidence in Him.
The “strengthened” Paul is referring to in verse 11 is not a onetime thing, but rather a continuous way of life. The word “strengthened” is a present participle signifying continuous action and not a onetime event. The “might” Paul is speaking of is the power of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8, “but you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you”. Paul is telling Christians that when we increase in knowledge of God the Holy Spirit will bring forth wisdom and He will do so in His strength and power. This battle on earth is no longer ours alone and we are not to strive to please Him in an effort to gain His love for us. This battle on earth is already won and the battle is in our mind’s to understand that victory and learn how to live and walk in it, not based on our own strength and understanding.
Paul is not telling Christians to prepare themselves to suffer here on earth when he is referencing patience and longsuffering in verse 11. The Greek word for longsuffering, MAKROTHYMIA means the capacity for self-control despite the circumstances in life that may arouse passions or agitation. Paul is telling us that as we increase in knowledge and wisdom of God that He will strengthen us with His glorious power and might to stand with patience grace and not white knuckles in the presence of any adverse situation be it internal or external, confrontational or in passion. This strengthening Paul is praying for will actually give us the ability to stay joyful, knowing God’s power and grace will get us through any situation, long before we can see the final victory. Strength and might in Christ Jesus, is knowing that God calls you son or daughter regardless of what is going on in your life at the present time. Notice that the strengthening and might does not come before the knowledge and wisdom.
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