Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Walking in a Manner Worthy – Part 1

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:9-10

This passage of Scripture has long been a favorite of mine and is one that I have committed to memory as what is shared in it is so convicting as well as encouraging in one’s walk with the Lord. So much is contained within these few verses, and a central focus is upon walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. 

In the passage quoted above, Paul shares that he and others are having unceasing prayer for the believers in Colossae that they would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. And when writing to the Ephesians, Paul again expressed a similar exhortation in saying: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called . . .” (Ephesians 4:1.)

Several times in Scripture the phrase, or ones similar to it, of “walking in a manner worthy” is used. And from the two passages shared above, it is seen that walking in a manner worthy of the Lord is a significant and very important thing for believers in Christ. But what exactly does it mean? How would it be done? What would it look like? 

The passage in Colossians answers these questions for us as it continues with “to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:10b.) Let’s take a look at the first aspect mentioned:

--Pleasing Him in all respects

Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines ‘please’, as used in Scripture, as “to love his [God’s] character and law and perform his will, so as to become the object of his approbation.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon defines the Greek word that is used in Colossians 1:10 for ‘please’, areskia, as “a desire to please.” 

Areskia is derived from another Greek word, aresko, which is defined (again by Thayer’s) as “to please, to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the opinions, desires, [and] interests of others.”

This striving and desiring to please the Lord begins in the heart, the spirit, and then can bear fruit in our lives through our words, our actions, our thoughts, in fact, all aspects of our lives. Pleasing the Lord is also foundational to the beginning of our Christian walk.

In the book of Hebrews, it is shared that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6.) and again, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8.)

The verse from Hebrews is speaking of saving faith which brings one from a state of ‘lostness’ and condemnation, to one of salvation and eternal life. And the verse from Romans shows that those in the flesh (those who are not believers in Christ) cannot be pleasing to God. While both verses are speaking in regards to salvation, there is a principle that lies within them that applies to all aspects of our lives.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are not “in the flesh” (meaning that we are not bound to its nature) as we have “the Spirit of God” (Romans 8:9) dwelling in us, but there are still aspects of the flesh that remain within us. And as the verse from Romans shows, the things of the flesh are displeasing to the Lord. 1 John 2:16 also expresses this truth: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is of the world.” 

Day by day, moment by moment, we have the choice to either walk according to the flesh, or according to the Spirit, – there is no middle ground to stand upon. And the things that are of the flesh are contrary to the word of God, while the things that are according to the Spirit are in obedience to the word of God.

So we see that first, in order to please the Lord, one must have saving faith in Him, thus becoming a born again believer in Jesus Christ. Then, in our lives as children of God, we are faced with the choice to either please our God and Savior through walking in obedience to Him, or to displease Him by walking according to our fleshly nature. 

This is a ‘battle’ that was well understood by the apostles as their writings to the church are full of exhortation to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to follow after the things of the Spirit, to strive after holiness, to seek to be obedient to the word of God, to set one’s mind on the things above, to practice diligence and perseverance, and much, much more. 

An example of this is found in a letter that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians . . .

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1.)

The “instruction” referred to by Paul that had been given to the Thessalonians is in reference to the Scriptures . . . the divinely inspired word of God. It is through this “instruction”, the word of God, that we can find how we are to walk and how we are to please the Lord. And as Paul exhorts here, we are to strive to excel still more in it. Never reaching a point of thinking that we have ‘arrived’, but always seeking and always pursuing a closer and more obedient walk with the Lord, seeking to “please Him in all respects” (Colossians 1:10.) 

In every single aspect of our lives we should seek to please Him . . . in our day to day life; in the words that we speak; in our relationships with family (parents, siblings, grandparents, husbands, wives, etc.), friends, other believers in Christ, and every other person that we come into contact with; in the things that we do; the books we read; the movies we watch; the attitude of our hearts; the fruit of our hands; the thoughts that we think . . . every single aspect of our lives we should earnestly desire to have be pleasing to the Lord, to be in obedience to Him.

And as always, may we follow in the steps of our perfect example, the Savior, Jesus Christ, Who said that “ ‘. . . He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him’” (John 8:29.) May this be the earnest desire and goal of our hearts to, like our Savior, always be pleasing to the Father in all things . . . “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3.)

To be continued . . .

-Posted by Sarah