Saints Who Know the Will of God Will so Walk as to Please Him
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father ..." (Colossians 1:9-12.)
Our text is one of the mighty prayers of the Bible. In essence it is a prayer that God's people "might be filled with the knowledge of his will." This is really not as simple as it may first seem. The filling is to be, as God's will is, "in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Moreover, this filling with the knowledge of God's will is not an end in itself: it is merely the means of attaining a higher purpose: "that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing."
"Worthy" should be rendered "worthily" or "in a manner worthy," being an adverb in the Greek. The worthiness sought is not in the persons walking, but in the manner of their walk. If this walk is worthy of the Lord it will always and in all ways be pleasing to Him: "unto all pleasing."
Four Greek participles describe the attendant circumstances when God's people are so filled with the knowledge of His will that they walk in a manner worthy of Him. In the KJ version the four participles are translated (1) being fruitful, (2) increasing, (3) strengthened, and (4) giving thanks.
All four of these participles are in the present tense, expressing repeated, habitual, or continuous action. The first could be rendered, "continually bearing fruit."
Note that our fruit bearing is to be "in every good work." We are not to be satisfied with one or a few kinds of good works or a few phases of Christian character. Let us review the varieties of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23 and ask ourselves whether we are continually bearing such fruit "in every good work." If not, our walk is certainly not worthy of our Lord, nor is it "unto all pleasing."
GROWING IN KNOWLEDGE
A second characteristic of a walk worthy of our Lord is that when we so walk we shall be always growing or increasing in the knowledge of God.
Note that being filled with the knowledge of God's will (verse 9) is not the same thing as the knowledge of God (verse 10). It is possible to have considerable knowledge of God's will without knowing God at all in any real spiritual sense.
"If anyone is willing to do his will," said Jesus, "he will know about the doctrine, whether it is from God, or I speak from myself." (John 7:17.) Knowing the will of God can be a blessing only if we are willing to do that will, and a supposed willingness to do it is proved genuine only when we walk in a manner worthy of Him, so as to please Him.
Our finite minds can never contain a full knowledge of the infinite God. "But keep on growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18.)
"In all power continually powered according to the might of his glory unto all patience and Iongsuffering with joy." So we may read verse 11. The participle for "strengthened" or "powered" is used with the prefix in Philippians 4:13: "In all things I am able in Christ, who continually empowers me."
"Dynamite" and "dynamo" are English derivatives of the Greek root which I prefer to translate "power." Repetition in our text of the same root in noun and participle makes for powerful expression of the idea of God's continual bestowal of power as we seek to walk in a manner worthy of Him.
We are powered "according to the might of his glory." This is a power quite different from our ordinary human ideas of power. It is greatly to be feared that many persons who exhibit great power of position or reputation in this world, even many "powerful preachers" by human standards, are rather weak and worthless in the sight of God.
"Unto all patience and longsufiering with joy." The power that bespeaks the presense and blessing of God is not the power of great achievement in the eyes of men, but the power that enables the humblest child of God to be patient and endure affliction and persecution without murmuring and complaining, "with joy." Hallelujah!
Finally, the true saint of God, walking in a manner worthy of his Lord, must always be giving thanks to his heavenly Father for the blessings of salvation already received, for present experiences as a citizen in the kingdom of His dear Son, and for the anticipation of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
On the authority of God's word, "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (II Corinthians 4:17.)
How dreadful our sin when we forget to thank God for His manifold gifts, spiritual and material! What a demonstration of our inherent wickedness that we so often delight ourselves in His material bounty without giving a thought to the debt of gratitude we owe to Him!
But even if we must suffer privation, grief, or unkindness in this world, can we not remember that our heavenly Father designs these things also for our good? The cup which our Father hath given us, shall we not drink it? (John 18:11.)
Can we not give "thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"? (Ephesians 5:20.) Only as we learn so to do can we keep on walking in a manner worthy of our Lord.