“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth… 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; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” Colossians 1:3-6,9-11
When, by God’s grace, the word is planted in our hearts, good and glorious things happen. The church at Colossae had demonstrated how faith and love for the saints grew from hope fixed in the gospel of truth, and while Paul gave thanks for this beautiful display, he earnestly prayed it would grow further. The Christian life is never static.
Either we are growing and bearing fruit in our walk or we are not. Dormancy has no place for the faithful. If there is no hunger for deeper understanding of God’s word, no growing love for the saints, no increased spiritual wisdom applied in hard situations nor display of selfless generosity and kindness, we should question whether we have truly understood “the grace of God in truth.” Christ’s death on the cross for me should leave such an imprint that I’m forever changed and spurred to increasingly higher thought and exercised faith.
“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23
The enemy will always oppose and do what he can to impede our spiritual progress. He uses exasperation and confusion stemming from biblical illiteracy, difficulties that shake our endurance, and the deception of worldly allures and ‘more urgents’ to deter us from pressing on. Committed perseverance in walk and work, against his wiles, multiplies substantial and glorious fruit.
How robust, how lush, how flavorful do we want our garden of faith to grow?
Lord, sow Your light and joy in me through Your word. May I increasingly grow and flourish in Your kingdom for Your great name and glory. (Psalm 97:11)