Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Worthy Walk

Colossians 1:10, That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (KJV).
When the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Colossae he was addressing the need to live out faithfully what the believer knows about his relationship with God. An evangelist told the assembled conference audience, "You're all educated way beyond your level of obedience." We must see to it that our going forth matches with what we claim to know. The truth is that no other endeavor can eclipse the weightiness of our worthy walk.  This is what we are here for. So what does it look like to walk worthy of the Lord?
Pleasing: The Greeks of Paul's time considered it demeaning for a slave to fawn over his master, seeking to fulfil every wish and command.  But it was Paul's teaching that elevated the obedience of a servant from slavish buttering-up of the master to sincere concern for the master's will and purpose. We grow in our knowledge of what pleases the Lord and develop the ability to know instinctively what to do in his behalf without having to be told before we act.
Fruit-bearing: It is no surprise that the worthy walk requires work. But Paul characterized our work as bearing fruit. It was at the last supper that Jesus described himself as the vine and his men as branches. He also told them that if they would abide in him, they would bear fruit. Their part was the abiding; His part was the fruit production. He went on to say that apart from him they could do nothing. This is not a matter of human effort to generate fruit, but of connection to the source from which fruit will naturally burst forth. Though we can't produce lasting fruit on our own, we can't help but bear fruit while abiding in Christ.
Increasing: The metaphor of vines, branches, and fruit bearing also implies another observable aspect of plants: living plants grow. It never ceases to amaze me how the right kind of plant food brings surprising growth in a short period of time. In a very similar way, receiving nourishment from the true vine always results in spiritual growth. It is our growth that is our primary objective. We are to increase in our knowledge of God so that we grow from unstable infancy to stable maturity. The worthy walk has this goal in mind.
With all this in mind, how do we apply ourselves to the daily objective of the worthy walk? The first suggestion is to take a fresh look at all that God has called us to in our connection to Christ (Phil. 3:14). We have a high calling that gives us motivation to live up to what we claim to believe. We must avoid the danger of being educated beyond our level of obedience. Finally, we can certainly ask God to help us abide in Christ every moment of every day. Is your daily walk worthy and pleasing to the Lord who called you and equipped you to serve him and bear fruit in every good work?

This article is a portion of a chapter in my new book Our Spiritual Walk which will be available from Shipmate Press later this month.

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