COLOSSIANS 1:1-14 (NIV – UK)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul opens his letter to the Colossian church by letting them know that he prays for them. And what is Paul’s prayer for them? Well, he gives us a list: that they would grow in the knowledge of God and is will, that they would live lives worthy of the Lord, be strengthened with the power of God, acquire great endurance and patience, and live lives of joyful thanks to the Father (v. 9-12).
These are all wonderful things. But Paul tells us why they are even possible: ‘For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins’ (v. 13-14). It is only because of God’s great love, mercy, grace and towards us that we are free to grow in all those things that Paul prays for the Colossians. It is God who grows those things in us.
Paul’s expectation is that the Colossian church, far from becoming stagnant, would grow and flourish as a community and as individuals – with each individual in the church growing in all those things, growing in spiritual maturity – therefore seeing the church as a whole flourish. And is this just for the Colossian church? No! This is as much for us today as it is for them. We can follow Paul’s example and pray for these things for our church and ourselves so that whether we have followed Jesus for 5 weeks or 5 decades we can continue to grow and flourish.
Question: Do you feel as if you are growing in the areas that Paul listed? In what ways could you seek further spiritual growth?