(NOTE: Without reading the previous post, this entry will not have its full meaning. In fact, without reading upcoming post, neither the previous or present post will be meaningful).
This language indicates that there is a reason we need to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. It is crucial to avoid two extremes; knowledge is not important or knowledge is an end in-and-of-itself. Christianity is not merely a philosophical or intellectual belief system. However, in order to grow, mature and be useful, one must have and operate according to correct understanding. So, why are we to actively pursue this understanding?
Walk in a Manner Worthy of the Lord
If we are to live lives that honor God and His design for human life, we must understand Him and how He designed things to work. This understanding that informs Paul’s prayer for the believers in Colossae is not new revelation. Consider the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD” (Jer.9:23-24). We can also hear the sad words of Isaiah ring out through the ages, right up to the present as he proclaims, “An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand. Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him” (Is.1:3-4).
There is a sense in which we can understand the word “worthy” as meaning “consistent with.” It is not as though we are worthy and therefore earning something for our behavior. To live in a manner that is worthy of the Lord is to take an approach that is consistent with His will for human life.
As a general axiom, we can emphasize that correct knowledge precedes correct behavior. But, let’s not stop there. Why should we engage in correct behavior, what is to be the motivating factor?
To Please Him in All Respects
Human beings have become so overwhelmingly self-centered that we generally aim to do things for what we get out of it. We “obey” in order to receive a reward, improve our reputation, feel good about ourselves, to get to heaven, avoid losing our salvation, on and on and on. At the point of genuine repentance, a climactic change in motive takes place – one ceases to be motivated by supreme self-interested, aiming to please and satisfy themselves, and resolves to live for the ultimate purpose of pleasing God. Paul indicates that, having correct knowledge (whatever level or degree) and living according to it, pleases God, effectively resulting in our accomplishing our goal.
We will pick up with the rest of the growth process tomorrow.