Gratitude is the fuel that drives the Christian Life. It is not duty or the desire to find God’s approval. If you have trusted Christ as Savior it is because of His love to you and the great work of Redemption that He has accomplished. We have to begin where He begins in talking about ourselves. We cannot imagine that we are good people who need a push in the right direction; or that He is a God who is not concerned with how we live our lives. If we are to accomplish what the Apostle Paul prayed for those Colossian Believers in Colossians 1:9-11, then we need to build it on the foundation that he built it on in Colossians 1:12-14.
Colossians 1:9-14 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 all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Considering what Paul prayed for those Christians we might ask,
“Do I really need to be FILLED with the knowledge of God’s will?”
“Can’t I just know the important stuff?”
“Do I have to please Him in EVERYTHING?”
“Can’t I just do the basics?”
Many in the Church would like to take issue with this idea and tell us that “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” I have to say it is really both. Our “religion” is how we relate to God. It is what we know about Him and what we do with that knowledge. Is God and your relationship to Him so unimportant that you do not care what He thinks? If so, you do not know Him.
The thing is, that we do not do the right things out of some legalistic necessity, rather as the Apostle Paul prays for the Colossians, it is in response for what He has already done for those whom He loves. What we do for God is to be based on what He has already done for us.
Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
We begin life as the enemies of God. Giving ourselves to His enemy and living for self and under the authority of the devil. That is why He had to rescue us from his power or domain.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Sure, we are captives, but we are willingly deceived and led captive because it seems better to our fallen will than submitting to the God of the universe. Scripture is clear Ephesians 2:1-3, Romans 3:9-21, and just a few verses further on in Colossians 1:21. Jesus is willing to come into the domain of the devil and rescue those who He made in His image, yet who rebelled and took the side of his enemy. He did that for all who would trust in Him. He rescued us from the trouble that we got ourselves into by rebelling against Him. He did it at the expense of His own life!
This is the foundation of obedience. Not to win or to keep favor with God, but because He has already shown favor when we were absolutely unworthy of it. So Paul, after he has prayed for the Christians in Colosse to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and to live lives to His honor and glory in all areas, including suffering well, he brings them down to the foundation of it all. That foundation is God doing a work in us and for us that we would really not even have wanted. But through His love and goodness, He breaks our heart for our sin and we see His infinite benevolence as He takes out the the domain of darkness and establishes us as citizens of His kingdom with all of the rights of Sons. What an amazing God we have!
I encourage you to listen to the audio of this message and I pray that when you see His amazing love, it would make living for His glory rather than for your own pleasure make absolute sense!