Prayer Report of the Apostle (Colossians 1:9-14) - Part 2
To Undertake the Will of God (1:10-11)
Paul prayed that these believers will understand the will of God (1:9). Once the will is known, it is to be undertaken. Knowing the will of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding enables one to do the will of God. Straight thinking leads to straight living. We are to know God’s will “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (1:10). The word walk is the Greek word “peripateo” meaning to walk about in the ordinary, the ordinary conduct of one’s self. It signifies the “whole round of the activities of the individual life.” It is an infinitive of purpose. Lightfoot reminds us that, “The end of all knowledge, the Apostle would say, is conduct.” Paul often uses the word walk for conduct. He points out in his epistles the characteristics of a worthy walk:
· In Newness of Life – Rom. 6:4
· According to the Spirit -
8:4, Gal. 5:16 Rom.
· In Holiness – Rom. 13:13
· By Manifestation of the truth – 2 Cor 4:2
· By Faith – 2 Cor. 5:7
· In Good works – Eph. 2:10
· In love – Eph. 5:2
· As Children of Light – Eph. 5:8
· Circumspectly – Eph. 5:15
The aim or object is to change conduct or lifestyle of believers to bring it in line with the will of God. In other words, to fulfill His will for us. The will of God pertains to all of life, starting at salvation and ending when this earthly body is set aside.
(a) Its Object – to be worthy of the Lord
The object of our undertaking the will of God is to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” The word “worthy” is the Greek word axios, meaning that which has weight, value or substance. It is living a life of substance, “in conformity with our union with God and with His purpose for our lives.” Wuest notes that it is to live a life where “their conduct, weights as much as the character of their Lord.” Paul reminds us to walk worthy of the Lord, God (1 Thess. 1:27), our calling (Eph. 4:1), and the gospel (Phil. 1:27).
(b) It’s aim – pleasing God
The aim of our conduct is “to please Him in all respects.” The Greek word is the noun areskeian, and found only here in the New Testament. The word is “used to describe the proper attitude of men towards God.” It carries the meaning to meet ones wishes, or to give pleasure, to please one. It denotes a subservient spirit and an eagerness to please another. Its essence is that we as Christians are to please God in everything we do. It is our duty and desire. This cannot be done by the flesh (
8:8). To please God we are
following the example of Christ ( Rom. 15:1-3). In meeting the aim,
we find worth for we are conformed to His character which is flowing through
(c) Its threefold results.
Undertaking the will of God has a threefold outcome:
Undertaking the will of God results in “bearing fruit in every good work” (1:10) In contrast to above where the word “fruitful” is used in the middle voice (1:6), here it is in the present active voice. It speaks of us actively yielding ourselves on a continuous basis to the Holy Spirit in order to produce good works (cf. Romans 12:1-2). It speaks of our responsibility. Paul prays that we will live up to our responsibility and thereby be fruitful in every good work. The present tense of the phrase indicates that we should constantly produce the fruit of good works. This is the reason we are saved by grace. In grace God saved us, so that we might walk in good works that He has already prepared for us (Eph. 2:10). In other words, undertaking the will of God results in us being fruit pickers. This fruit is ‘every good work.’ God prepares these works beforehand. According to Paul in Titus (his epistle of good works), we are to be a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7), zealous of good works (Titus 2:14), ready for good works (Titus 3:1), engaging in good works (Titus 3:8), and learning to maintain good works (Titus 3:4). Grace is not an enemy to good works, but an enabler of good works.
(2) Increasing in Knowledge.
“Increasing in the knowledge of God;” (1:10). The participle “increasing” (auxanomenoi) is the word growing, signifying to make an increase. It speaks of a tree that yields fruit and keeps growing, whereas other plants give fruit and die. We are like trees planted by the river of life bringing forth fruit and whose leaves does not wither (Psa. 1:3). This growth is to be “in the knowledge of God.” The word knowledge is epignosin, which is personal experiential knowledge, thus it is a relational knowledge. As we undertake the will of God we not only bear fruit, but we get to know our Lord better and more completely as we experience Him and His work in us. The participles are in the present tense stressing the idea of continual growth in the knowledge of God. Believers are to continually grow in our knowledge of God. Peter tells us that we are to grow (auxanete) in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). This was the aim of the Apostle Paul who counted all but loss “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8). God grows dearer to us as we experience His grace, greatness, and faithfulness in everyday living.
(3) Strengthened with all might (1:11).
The power of God is a common motif of Paul (cf. Romans 1:20; 9:17; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 24; 6:14; 2 Corinthians 13:4, but especially Ephesians 1:19; 3:7; 16, 20; 6:20). In this prayer he prays that believers will be “strengthened with all might.” It designates how it is possible for our conduct to achieve being worthy of the Lord. The word “strengthened” is dunamoumenoi, meaning to be empowered, enabling, or inherent power residing in a thing or person by virtue of its nature. The root word is where we get the word dynamite. It’s a causative verb and carries the idea of empowering someone that is inherently weak. The adjective “all” is inclusive; meaning that every type of power is always available. It is present tense indicating continual empowerment. It speaks of being strengthened by His enabling power. It is power that comes from God, not from man’s own power. God is the source of this power. This is the imparting of God’s strength by the Holy Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16). Our own strength is not sufficient. God empowers the undertaking of His will. It is nothing less than Christ Himself working through us, for He “who is able to do abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20). The endowment of Godly power will enable us to stand in the face of the test of life. God never asks us to do anything without providing the power and the ability to do it. However, it requires us to freely accept and surrender by allowing that power to work in and through us.
The standard is “according to His glorious might.” The Greek word kata (according to) means the measure, force, or standard by which something is done. The word “might” is the word kratos, and refers to supernatural strength. It is found 12 times; 11 times it refers to God, and once to Satan. Here it speaks of God and the standard or measure of His power. This might is described as glorious (doxa). The basic idea of glory is brightness or splendor, but theologically, as applied to God and speaks of the various outward expression of God’s inward character. Dunn observes that the thought here is that of divine glory being a manifestation of power. Gromacki notes that God “reveals Himself through what He enables the believer to do with the ability which only He can provide.” In Ephesians 3:16 we see this is done “by the Spirit in the inner man.” In Paul, this is understood as beneficial power, transforming us for the better. The empowerment available to us is unlimited.
The aim or purpose of this power is “for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience;” (1:11). Steadfastness is hupomone, which is a compound of two Greek words, meaning abiding under, thus to bear with, to be patient, endure or steadfast. The second word is also a compound word, markrothumia, meaning long temper (2 Pet. 3:9). Lenski says it is “holding out long against provocation of decisive action.” It is used of the patience of God and of his people. These two words are closely related, both being in many instances by the word patience. Both are used to reinforce the idea of endurance and faithfulness. We are to demonstrate all patience and longsuffering in the face of the storms of life, which we are empowered to endure. They are the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). His strength is manifested in endurance, patience, and joy (Phil 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:1). Patience brings forth fruit as well (Luke 8:15). It perfects our character (James 1:4). Patience with others is love. Patience speaks of hope, while steadfastness with God is faith.
 W.E. Vine, EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY, 4:195.
 O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS 22.
 Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 137.
 Curtis Vaughan, THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY: COLOSSIANS, 178.
 Wuest, Kenneth S., WUEST’S WORD STUDIES: COLOSSIANS, 176.
 Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 137.
 Dunn, NIGNT: COLOSSIANS, 74.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 52.
 Lenski, COLOSSIANS, 39.