Summary: It is essential that Christians remain committed to growing in the Lord in order to have the impact we are intended to have in the world.
A Prayer to Grow On
When it comes to matters of faith, how good is good enough for you? What is your goal in the Christian life? Is your goal to be the best believer you can be for the glory of God? Obviously, our Lord’s desire is for us to continue to grow and mature in our faith for all the years God allows us to live. But, if we would be honest with the Lord, most of us would have to admit that our personal spiritual goals are not as ambitious as our Lord would like for them to be. We may be working hard to be a smart student, a wise parent, a successful businessperson, a scratch golfer or a hunter with a twelve-point buck as a trophy on the wall. But are we exerting the same effort in growing in Christ-likeness?
We need to recognize the high price of settling for less than our best when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. When we fail to consistently grow spiritually as followers of Christ we do much more than deny ourselves the love, peace and joy God desires for us. We also have a negative impact on the advancement of the kingdom of God. When we fail to grow spiritually as followers of Christ our spiritual negligence not only robs us of blessings. It potentially affects where others we influence will spend eternity.
This should not surprise us. Whenever people fail to strive for excellence others are adversely affected. Have you ever thought about just how chaotic life would be if people with critical responsibilities did not always strive for perfection in their job? What if people employed in the medical profession considered 99.9 percent accuracy to be “good enough”?
§ If ob-gyn nurses considered 99.9 percent to be good enough, 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents to take home every single day.
§ If 99.9 percent was considered good enough by cardiologists 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly each and every day.
§ If pharmacists were satisfied with 99.9 percent accuracy, a whopping 20,000 prescriptions would be filled incorrectly every day in this country.
Obviously, mediocrity on the part of medical professionals can cause others to pay an unreasonably high price. That is why people in the medical field are required to take a certain number of continuing education hours every year to maintain their license. Medical professionals are required by law to stay current in their knowledge and skills because of the potential impact their mistakes can have on others.
In Colossians 1:9-14 the apostle Paul prays for the members of the church in Colossae with a similar end in mind. Paul knew how important it was that they continue to grow and mature in their faith. In the first 8 verses of Col 1 Paul expresses his gratitude for the faith of the Colossian Christians. Now, beginning in v9 Paul prays a prayer he hopes will be a prayer they can grow on.
** Read Col 1:9-14 **
In this beautiful prayer, the Apostle Paul points out four critical aspects of Christian growth that each of us need to embrace in order to become and remain the growing and kingdom-expanding followers of Christ that He expects us to be.
TRANS: The first aspect of Christian growth addressed by Paul in this special prayer is something we all need to consider carefully. Any follower of Christ interested in continually growing in the Lord needs to make certain:
I. That God’s Will Is What Fills Us
EXP: In v9 of our text Paul prays that the Colossian Christians may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Now Paul is not implying that these believers had no knowledge of God and His will. The Greek word translated as “knowledge” in v9 is the same as the word used in v6 where Paul gives thanks that they had understood the grace of God in truth. What Paul was praying for is revealed in the word filled as it is used in v9. Paul was praying that the will of God would continue to fill their lives helping them to grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding on an ongoing basis. The Colossians had an understanding of God’s will but they needed to be open to know and learn more of God’s truth. Paul did not want them to be satisfied where they were spiritually. His desire was to challenge them to continue to seek the Lord and grow in their understanding of God’s will through personal prayer, study and obedience to God’s leadership in their lives. Paul wanted them to be moving forward spiritually because that is God’s will for each of our lives, that we continue to move forward with the Lord to a fuller faith, that we grow in Christlikeness.