In the letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes to confront teaching that has contrary to faith and salvation. Faith and salvation are the bedrock of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In the first few verses of Colossians 1, Paul makes three statements regarding faith.
#1 Faith and love are inseparable characteristics. V.4
- Faith without love and makes you judgmental.
- Love without faith and makes you hypocritical.
#2 Faith bears fruit increasingly. V.6
Fruit is the tangible evidence of your faith and every follower is supposed to produce spiritual fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 list the fruit of the Spirit, and this is the metric for every believer.
Jesus takes fruit production very seriously. Jesus said in Matthew 7:19, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
#3 Be a student of the faith. V.3, 7
Paul uses the phrases “heard it and understood” and “Just as you learned it from Epaphras,” to highlight our on-going need of learning God’s word. As a follower of Jesus, we are to study God’s word frequently. We are to gather regularly to hear God’s word taught. The Bible teaches us God’s thoughts so we can be transformed into God’s likeness.
Be aware, knowledge by itself is dangerous. “Knowledge puffs up,” 1 Corinthians 8:1. Knowledge must be paired with wisdom. Knowledge is knowing the truth; wisdom is living out the truth. We are instructed to be both.
I learned while in Israel that the greatest point of argument among rabbis wasn’t always the interpretation of the Torah, but rather how to apply it. Much time and thought went into how to walk out what the Bible taught. Walk was synonymous with obedience.
My struggle with obedience is less about knowing what to do but refusing to obey what I know to do. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to lay my life down, my desires, my will, and my thinking.
I’m to put my faith in the One who created me, trusting that His plans are greater than my desires, better than my will and higher than my thinking. Obedience is the key to knowing God’s will and thoughts. Paul’s urging of our obedience is because it results in understanding.
Verse 11 says that as we grow in the knowledge of his will and in all spiritual wisdom and understanding we will “be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”
Before we breakdown these four words, let’s first look at the word “all.” The word “all” is the Greek word, “pas” and it expresses totality. It’s complete and lacking nothing. So think of the following four words in the fullest, all-encompassing sense.
Power is translated as dynamis, which means “to be able, capable.” This word emphasizes the power exerted to make something happen. Faith-living gives us the ability and capability to handle the issues of life. Dynamis is not always the power to change your circumstances but the power to transform you through your circumstances.
Might derives from the Greek word, Kratos. Kratos is defined as strength and especially designates dominion. Where dynamis speaks of the external power exerted, Kratos emphasizes the presence and area of might.
When Kratos is paired with dynamis it means that faith gives us the power to overcome no matter the circumstance.
Endurance is translated from the word hupomone and is defined as to persevere, to remain under. Hupomone is associated with hope and refers to the quality of character that does not surrender to circumstances or yield under trial.
Increasing faith generates in us the power and might to remain under difficult circumstances without quitting or yielding to our fears, worries, or conditions. This sort of endurance is only possible by faith.
Patience means long-suffering. It’s best explained as self-restraint before proceeding with action. To remain in a state of calm in the face of provocation without complaining.
Where endurance is in the context of an internal battle, patience is in the context of other people. To have patience is to hold off on saying or doing something until the feelings of revenge and retribution have passed.
Make it a point this week to spend time in God’s word and read not just for information but for transformation. Spend time thinking on what you read and how it applies to your life.
These four characteristics are only developed through faith building. Faith comes by hearing and doing what the Word of God teaches. Spiritual growth in an intentional act and the rewards far outweigh the effort.