That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. — Colossians 1:10
Growing up in a rural area, roaming the ridge was natural. My brothers and sisters and I, along with some neighborhood kids who lived less than a mile away, would bicycle or walk all over the area looking for some adventure. We waded in streams, explored hills and valleys, checked out our great-uncle’s pond, and generally had wonderful times during our wanderings. Sometimes we picked mushrooms, berries, or cherries, and later in the summer we visited the apple and nut trees that grew in the woods or along the fields.
There were apple trees that had “slightly” wormy apples, but we understood that no one had taken care of them. There were hickory nuts trees and trees that produced very tough black walnuts. One particular tree stands out in my mind because it was such a disappointment. It was located just over the top of the hill at the side of the hay field, not more than a quarter-mile from home. The leaves were shaped like those of a hazelnut tree, and when the nuts formed, they looked like hazelnuts. The disenchantment came when we cracked them open. Nothing was in them; they were just empty shells!
I often wondered about that tree. Did it have some sort of virus that caused it to be fruitless? Was the soil lacking an essential mineral? Whatever the cause, I gave up trying to get nuts from it.
As Christians, we are the plants in God’s kingdom and our purpose here is to bring forth fruit. God has no ornamental shrubs in His orchards! He directs us to bear fruit as a sign to those around us that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. It does not matter what our gifts or qualifications may be, how beautiful or plain we may be, or how varied or limited our talents; we are to live a life “worthy” of being called a Christian. Our choices, our conduct, and our character must bring honor to His name and be pleasing to Him. To be viewed as “pleasing” to the Lord is to be “fruitful” in every aspect of life.
Let us do our part to assimilate the proper nutrients we need as Christians in order to ward off damaging viruses and bring forth good fruit. Reading the Word of God and praying without ceasing will help us maintain spiritual health, that we may yield a good harvest.
The cosmopolitan city of Colosse had once been a thriving metropolis, but by the time Paul wrote this letter to the believers there, it had diminished to a much smaller city. The predominantly Gentile group of believers at Colosse had never seen Paul, but probably had heard positive news of him from their leader, Epaphras.
However, spiritual problems in the church arose due to the influence of various religions the people were exposed to. The “Gnostics,” or “knowing ones,” were philosophers whose beliefs were borrowed and combined from Plato, Judaism, oriental ideas, and Christianity. Their complicated teachings made it difficult for most people to attain salvation, with the consequence that the philosophers thought themselves superior to others. The knowledge Paul refers to in verse 9, in contrast to that of the Gnostics, is not theoretical, but experiential, and implies full discernment.
“Greetings and salutations” is a concise way to describe this portion of Scripture. However, there was much more to it than mere salutations. In these eloquent verses, Paul sets the tone of the epistle, showing his love for these believers and his hope for their future spiritual growth. In expressing his thanks to God for them and in relating his prayers for their spiritual growth, a bond was established with the congregation, making them more receptive to the instructions that followed.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction (1:1-14)
A. Salutation (1:1-2)
1. The author (1:1)
2. The recipients and blessing (1:2)
B. Thanksgiving (1:3-8)
1. The reason (1:3-5)
2. The source (1:6-8)
C. Supplication (1:9-14)
1. For proper knowledge (1:9)
2. For proper conduct (1:10-14)
a. Fruitfulness and knowledge (1:10)
b. Strength (1:11)
c. Giving thanks (1:12-14)
(1) Inheritance (1:12)
(2) Deliverance and transference (1:13-14)
Paul’s loving approach to the spiritual well-being of the group at Colosse could only increase their respect for him and the true Gospel he embraced. Others around us will read our lives, as the Colossians read this epistle. How evident is the love of Jesus in us?