It’s Time To Grow Up!
Col. 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Again, Paul is praying for his spiritual children and his prayer becomes a gentle hint as to their need for continued growth. They are already participating in the kingdom of Christ and yet they have not arrived at the end. Paul’s prayer reveals his love for these people and yet he wants them to grow up spiritually. Notice that he uses the term “that you may be filled,” showing an on-going action within the lives of these believers. He does not say, “that you may receive” because, according to Chrysostom they “in fact had already received.” But while they had received they needed to continue to grow so that they could “lead lives worthy of the Lord.” This would only be possible as they grew “in the knowledge of God.”
This “knowledge of God” is not about doctrine, but upon living life to its fullest when empowered by the Lord. We have been elevated to the position of family members. We are God’s children, but it should not just be about position. People can be elevated to positions but if they are not capable for the task they will be greatly embarrassed. God not only elevates our position but empowers us for kingdom service. In our adoption we have received our portion of the kingdom inheritance with the rest of the saints — or God’s holy people. As we grow up we become more skilled at utilizing the inheritance we have received and we can live as saints. The contrast here is quite amazing. We were living in the darkness of the world, lost and alone and we were rescued and made children of the king with all the rights, privileges and inheritance and now Paul’s prayer is for us to live as true children of the kingdom.
Paul’s prayers continue to be a challenge as he recognizes this spiritual life is not a “done” deal, but that all of God’s children are encouraged to continue to grow up into that which we’ve been given.
Last night my husband and I were watching the Ohio State v. Wisconsin football game. It’ll probably be remembered as one of those epic games where everyone had their eyes on the young man who was brought in to play quarterback. The first string quarterback had hurt his shoulder and was unable to play. The second string quarterback had been playing most of the season and was absolutely outstanding but his ankle had been broken on the final play of game the previous week. Now, people were almost joking about the fact that the third string player was having to come in and try to lead the team.
Cardale Jones was elevated to a position — the position of quarterback of a football team playing in the championship game but just because he’d been given the position didn’t mean that he had the ability. Everyone held their breath to see whether he’d be able to live up to the expectations of the position. He came out and played with power and precision in a way that people were absolutely stunned. Not only did he have the position, but he had the right tools to play it well.
We have been elevated to the position of saint — we are called to be one of God’s holy children. All that we need to serve well in the kingdom is available to us but we have to reach out and grab it — and practice hard — and put everything we have into it — so that we will serve worthy of the position we have received. Just as Cardale Jones brought everything with him to the football game and showed the world that he was a true member of the Ohio State football team — just so we are to show up in the kingdom as mature, grown-up children who are using their inheritance well for the Father.
This is the simple prayer of Paul, calling for radical transformation both then and today. Will we play our position well?
Lord, may Paul’s prayer continue to speak actively in my life today. Amen.