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 may 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
If you didn't know the verses, I'm sure you're still familiar with the admonition to "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord". The only problem is that everybody picks out different verses to support what this lofty life-style is.
So, where do YOUR thoughts take you when you consider what it could mean to walk worthy? And how far short do
To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure Titus 1:15
I'll bet you've already categorized "the pure" as referring to somebody other than yourself, haven't you? I mean, to be considered pure seems to be reserved for the few who have achieved a higher standard of purity in their lives than say, you or I ... wouldn't you think? But then again, by what means of evaluation do we determine such a thing? Hasn't the good news of Jesus made it abundantly clear that those who have received the grace of God are the clean, the righteous, the justified, the sanctified, the holy, the pure ... and the undefiled? So, dump that evaluation system by which you keep judging yourself unworthy.
Though there may be many questions begging to be asked I want to draw your attention to the simplicity of the statement, "To the pure, all things are pure". What could this possibly mean? How could ALL things be pure in any sense? And if I am correct it says that all things are pure to YOU.
Notice that it does not say all things can be VIEWED as pure, but that all things ARE pure. I point this out because of our tendency to negate this reality as if it was merely theoretical and not factual. But it is reality.
We grew up learning to view all things according to our particular society's standard of measurement. We have judged all things on a scale fitting somewhere within the framework between bad and good. But the concept of good within this system is bogus, for we have accepted the fact that it has been contaminated by evil to some degree. In the world we learned that nothing is pure ... and the endless stream of laws, rules and principles is determined to root out and expose the evil in every good word and deed.
But our history has been rewritten in Christ.
Do you remember the theme of Ecclesiastes?
There is nothing new under the sun! Ecclesiastes 1:9
We still quote that as if it is part of our history. But our history in Christ is not found under the sun ... it is from heaven, from the Spirit of the Living God, whose existence is not dependent upon the natural world.
* We were in darkness, now we are in Light.
* We were dead in sins, now we are alive to God through Christ.
* We were opposed to righteousness, now we are righteousness.
* We were unbelieving, now we are believers through HIM.
* We were impure, now we have been made pure.
Because our history has been rewritten in Christ are things are pure to us. The whole evil world has been made to be our training camp in which He causes all things to work together for our good. Our whole history, whether we have considered it good or bad, has really been for us the very experiencing of the life of God for He has shown Himself to us in countless ways. Every hurt is turned into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings to us. Every kindness we have experienced in the world, though perverted by sin, is to us the goodness of our Father. Every expression of love through a father is to us the voice of our Father in heaven saying,
You are my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased! Matthew 3:17
My friends, He has made all things new ... and there is no sin in the place we really live.you see yourself in reaching this goal? hmmmmm?
To be sure, we could do a very intensive word study to try to figure this thing out so that we can do what we're being told to do. Such a study might include an exposition on these words and phrases: filled, knowledge, His will, spiritual wisdom, understanding, walk, manner, worthy, please, bearing fruit, every good work.
And then, maybe when you get to be as old as I am (yuck, yuck) you might finally figure it out so that you can start walking worthy. Could it be that complicated?
Actually, complicated doesn't even come close; Impossible is more like it. And once you see how impossible it is, it's easy! :)
To "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord". For crying out loud, throw your lists of Worthy Things away ... yeah, even the ones with Bible verses on them!! No, no, don't send them to ME ... I don't want them either, okay? :)
Now, I'm sure you have all kinds of valid, doctrinal, scriptural, exegetical, homiletical, hermeneutical, systematical reasons to support your particular list, but the simple fact is that since your list can be NUMBERED it is disqualified. Laws, rules and principles are numbered ... the life of God is NOT.
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
We've been so Christianized (religiously speaking, that is) that we've been blinded to the obvious. What is worthy of the Lord? ummmm ... perfection, maybe? And yet we seem to gravitate to things we should do or places we should go and hope that maybe if we're doing the right thing at the right time in the right place that maybe God will be happy with us.
Could this have anything to do with Paul's non-stop requests to His Father that insight be given to those who believed? Could it be that this is a MIRACULOUS life that is not understood by means of our lists and/or formulas?
Could it be that we have already been made worthy and fully pleasing to God through Christ and that the only reason we don't walk in this manner is because we don't see it and therefore fall back upon our default conditioning, which is a manner of life based upon our own performance in the ATTEMPT to be worthy and pleasing? (I know that one sentence is a mouthful, but please don't let it get by you until you see how simple it is!)
There is a common performance-based practice that all of us have fallen into time and time again: it is the attempt to make ourselves look good by trying to make someone else look bad. Now, if the attempt didn't work, then we would probably stop using it. The fact is that those who are already biased toward such a conclusion will reinforce our false belief that pulling someone else down will lift us up. This is why as children we learned to play such vicious games ... and have not gotten over it even now.
We do the same thing in the religious realm with God. We attempt to pull HIM down by our insistence that walking worthy of the Lord is something that we can achieve instead of being the life that He has brought us into.
It makes all the difference in the world to know that God has carried out the deepest desires of His being (His Will) through the accomplishment of Christ and that in doing so He has taken away that which tore us apart from Him and has brought us into union with Himself (again, through Christ) so that His life is now our life. By the way, the will of God mentioned by Paul is described by him in full detail in the rest of Colossians 1 where he concluded,
that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God WILLED to make known what is the RICHES OF THE GLORY of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY Colossians 1:26-27
When this understanding fills you up you KNOW that you walk in this world as one who is worthy of God because the life that you walk in and by is the life of Christ.