Jesus is not a supplement. He is not an additive. He did not come to enhance or improve your life.
Jesus came to give you a new life.
When we get this confused we may offer a version of Jesus to people that will make them comfortable. Happy. Satisfied. Sometimes people try to convince others that Jesus is worthy of being included in their current life.
Jesus is much, much more than a life-enhancer. He is the life-giver.
Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. Our sin separates us from our Creator. Jesus willingly gave His sinless life as a substitute on the cross to endure the wrath we deserve and give us the gift of His perfect righteousness.
He makes those who receive Him worthy by His life. He qualifies us to receive an inheritance in the kingdom of God. As a result we are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
Many people don’t truly understand grace. They think grace is primarily permissive. They think it allows us to sin and be forgiven. This is only partially true.
Biblical grace is much more. It is transformative. Biblical grace transforms dead rebellious sinners into living saints. Biblical grace is purposeful in conforming the born-again child of God into the image of Jesus. It is not instantaneous. It is a process. It will never end until we are finally freed from this body of sin and death. However, it should be evident from beginning to end.
Paul writes about this glorious calling in Colossians. Paul prayed for these Christians toward the goal of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord.
Reading his prayer is humbling. It’s instructive. It’s powerful.
Do you pray for other believers this way? If not, I encourage you to start.
Colossians 1:3-12 lays out an awesome understanding of how to pray for Christians. It is based on a deep understanding of God’s purpose in salvation.
Paul starts by giving thanks to God. Salvation is a free gift. It is all of grace. God should be thanked. Constantly.
Paul thanks God for the salvation he has heard about in the believers in Colossae. Paul did not plant this church. A man named Epaphras preached the gospel there. Paul heard about their faith and their love for all Christians. As a result he gave thanks to God.
Paul also encouraged them. He wrote of the truth that the gospel is bearing fruit and increasing throughout the world. This was true for them. It is true for us. We may not see the increase everyday with our eyes. As we walk by faith, not by sight, we should remember that God’s glory is constantly expanding. Faithful brothers and sisters in Christ are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. The gospel is increasing and bearing fruit throughout the world.
This is where Paul gets to the meat. The specifics. Since the gospel is bearing fruit and increasing, since they are Christians and they participate in the Great Commission, Paul prays for them:
asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects– bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12 NET)
Paul prays that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. The reason for this is so that they can obey it. When they know and obey God’s will they will please Him in all respects. They will bear fruit in every good deed.
As this happens they will grow in the knowledge of God. This is because Jesus promised to continue to reveal Himself to those who know and obey Him (John 14:21).
The closer we walk with the Holy Spirit in this life the more He empowers us to live for the glory of God. This is the purpose of amazing, transformative grace. Our sin as Christians causes us to grieve and quench the Spirit’s activity in our lives as individuals and in the church body.
Finally, God’s grace enables a life of obedience characterized by patience, steadfastness, and joyous thanksgiving to the Father who saved us by His grace. He saved us to be His ambassadors. Our salvation is a fruit and increase of the gospel. We are supposed to participate in furthering this fruit and increase of the gospel by living the new grace empowered life He called us to. This is the path blessed by God.
If you’re not a Christian I pray you will turn to Christ and be saved from the wrath to come on Judgment Day. If you are a Christian I pray that you will be filled with knowledge of God’s will. I pray you will live a life worthy of our Lord.
I pray this so that you will be a vessel through which the gospel continues to bear fruit and increase throughout the earth. So that you will bring glory, honor, and praise to our great God and Savior.
Will you pray the same for me?