In Colossians 1:9-10, we read that Paul’s prayer for the Colossians – and for all Christians – is to live a life that is worthy of the Lord.
That seems odd to us in some ways, because we understand that we can’t earn our salvation, that we are saved by the grace of God and not through our own goodness or works.
We can never be good enough to deserve anything that God has done for us. So how can we be worthy?
“Worthiness” and “deserving” are not the same
I think the problem is that we associate worthiness with deserving, and that’s not really how we normally use those ideas. As with a lot of terminology, we understand the concepts in real life, but we don’t always apply those ideas when we read the Bible.
… we might observe a teenager who’s been given a Ferrari by his parents for his birthday, and he proceeds to drive it recklessly, bang into mailboxes, trash the interior with wrappers and dirt, ignore all the maintenance, and get into accident after accident — all the while boasting to anyone who will listen how great his car is and by extension, how great HE is, and how horrible his parents are for not getting him the special rims and accessories that he wanted. We would think, “Why is that car wasted on someone like that, who doesn’t appreciate what he’s been given?”
We would probably never say that any teenager has EARNED a Ferrari, but we might say that he shows gratitude in the way that he treats the vehicle, and in the way he responds to the parents who gave it to him. How I treat the gift itself, or how the gift changes my attitude or actions, reflects my attitude about the giver!
How does God’s gift change us?
That’s what Paul is saying to Christians. You’ve been given an immeasurable gift of grace in your salvation.
Paul describes in chapter 1 of Colossians who Jesus is, how exalted he is above all things — he is the image of God. He is the creator of all things. And he is the head of the body, which is the church. And yet that same Jesus has reconciled us to his body by his death, to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before him!
How do we live in view of that gift? Do we see it as sacred? Does it change the way we make decisions in our lives? The priorities we set? The way we spend our time and energy? Do we follow Jesus begrudgingly, always looking for shortcuts, excuses not to do things we know are pleasing to God, or looking for the absolute minimal level of commitment so that we can continue with the things we’d rather be doing with our lives?
A worthy life gives everything to God
Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20: “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That describes a life where we are totally committed to serving God above ourselves. Anything less is unworthy of the grace God has shown to us.
May God bless us all and give us the faith and resolve to live with that kind of gratitude in our lives and our hearts, so that we can serve God the way God deserves to be served.
Listen to the full lesson on YouTube here.