Growing and Going

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10

You can’t help but notice Paul’s emphasis on “knowledge” in his letter to the Colossians. First, he prays that the Colossian church would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding {v.9}. Then he prays again that the Colossian church would increase in the knowledge of God {v.10}.

Alright, Paul. We get your point. We need to increase in the knowledge of God. Got it.
But if you know Paul, he won’t settle there. In fact, he again prays for the Colossians and other area churches in ch. 2 that they would begin to comprehend the riches of the Gospel, namely Jesus Christ as the source of all wisdom and knowledge-

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

Later in ch. 3 Paul encourages these believers to be renewed in knowledge as part of the sanctification process-

“…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:10

Why all the emphasis on growing in our knowledge of God? I think Paul keeps stressing it in his letter because he knows that if the Colossian church is going to make any difference in the world they must keep increasing in their knowledge of God. Knowledge of God affects every area of the Christian life: evangelism, discipleship, sanctification, missions, giving, serving, etc.

That’s why Paul will ask the Colossians to pray for open doors of evangelism for his ministry and knowledge on how to do it effectively {see Colossians 4:2-6}. The Colossians too will need wisdom in how to live the Gospel out in a pagan world {see Colossian 4:5-6}. If they don’t grow in the knowledge of God, they won’t make a difference in the world.

Perhaps the reason churches and believers aren’t making a difference for the Gospel today is that they have stopped growing in the knowledge of God? Let’s make it personal: perhaps the reason we aren’t sharing the Gospel and discipling others is because we have stopped growing in the knowledge of God?

I think D.A. Carson is spot on: “The greatest incentive to evangelism, witness, and mission emerges from a church’s deepening knowledge of God.”

Want to share the Gospel more? Grow in the knowledge of God. Want to witness more to neighbors, co-workers and family? Grow in the knowledge of God. Want to be missions-minded? Grow in the knowledge of God.

If we are ever to be a church that evangelizes, witnesses and stays on mission, we have to be people of the Book, not people of books about the Book. We must be Scripture-saturated. We must, as Paul exhorted the Colossian church-

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Colossians 3:16

If you are filled with and increasing in the knowledge of God, you can’t help but be thankful for the Gospel:

“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14

When you begin to comprehend all that God is for you in Jesus Christ, you can’t help but share it with others! When you begin to grow in your understanding of who the Triune God is, it should lead to a sharing with those in your lives. Perhaps a memorable way to remember this devo is this: “Growing leads to going.”

Go grow so you can go!
~Benji

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