“What are these clothes for?” asked Addy. She was at her friend Kara Johnson’s house, and Mrs. Johnson had the dining room covered with dresses, pants and some items of clothing Addy didn’t even recognize.
Kara laughed. “Mom helps the drama department over at the high school with costumes for their plays. She’s going through some old costumes to see which ones can be used again.” Kara picked up a red dress. “Hey, Addy,” she said, “You want to try some on? Mom will let us, won’t you, Mom?”
“If you girls are careful,” said Mrs. Johnson.
For the next hour or so, the girls went from being ladies of the 1700s to aliens from outer space. Their favourites were the animal costumes. Addy was a zebra and Kara was a lion. The costumes completely covered them except for air holes and a slit for their eyes. “Mrs. Johnson, my dad is out mowing the lawn. Can we walk past my house in our costumes? He’ll never know who we are, and I can’t wait to see the look on his face!”
Mrs. Johnson laughed. “Sure,” she said.
The girls giggled as they went quietly out the back door and then behind some trees to the sidewalk. They didn’t want Addy’s dad to see them coming from the Johnson house. They waited until he turned the mower toward the sidewalk, then they hurriedly walked past him.
Addy’s dad turned off the mower. “Oh no! My daughter has turned into a zebra and her friend is a lion! What shall I do?”
Addy removed the zebra head. “Da-a-d! How did you know it was us?
He laughed. “Your walk, Addy. I knew who you were by the way you were walking.”
The family had a good laugh about Addy’s costume over supper that night. Then Addy had a thought. “This is kind of like what we were talking about last week, Dad, when I was having problems with some friends at school. You said people should know I’m a Christian by the way I live my life-that I needed to walk the Christian walk.”
“Exactly right,” said Dad. “The Bible tells us that others should know we belong to God by the way we walk. Every step we take should honour Him.”
In the opening verses of his letter to the Colossians, Paul offers thanksgiving and acknowledges all three Persons of the Trinity. This divine ministry is the foundation of our Christian life and worship. Paul’s reference to Jesus as Lord foreshadows a key theme in this letter: the supremacy of Christ.
The triad of faith, hope and love is found throughout the writings of the early church. The hope that grounds the faith and love of the redeemed carries a certain expectation; it is rooted in the promises of the faithful God, thus the truth of the gospel changes lives and offers the certainty of heaven. The heart of the Gospel is the transcendent grace of God.
When Paul compares the work of the Gospel in Colossae with that in all the world, it is not hyperbole. Although the gospel message was young at the time Paul wrote the Letter to the Colossians, it had already spread from Jerusalem to Syria, Greece, Israel, Egypt and beyond. The Greek literally reads that the gospel, “in all the world has been bearing fruit and growing as it is among you.” This reminds us of the fruitfulness commanded by God in Genesis 1:28 and John 15:6. The true gospel message will prevail over competing voices, no matter how attractive they may seem.
Paul prayed that the Colossians would “be filled with the knowledge of His will.” The rest of the Letter to the Colossians describes the result of this prayer in the believer’s life. Knowledge alone is never enough. God’s Word must change one’s life and way of thinking, literally filling the believer’s life and motivating every area of his or her being. Sometimes Christians fail to live by the will and Word of God because they fall prey to false teaching; others fail through neglect, neither reading the Word nor applying it.
Paul believed that when there is faith and love, there is a well-founded hope of heaven. That hope comes when we hear the gospel and it produces abundant fruit in our lives. This fruit is produced when we let God’s love into our hearts.
God’s love allows us to understand what He does, what He wants, what His purposes are for our lives, and what He wants us to do for Him. The world He has made is so beautiful that it invites us to study His works and understand His perfections.
The will of God and the wisdom of God are inseparably linked with saturation in the Word of God. Godly wisdom is gained by studying His Word; spiritual understanding is how His children discern His will. Both wisdom and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit. They do not come from an unspiritual or fleshly mind. Such spiritual knowledge provides insight into God’s will; however, no one can anticipate the will of a stranger. Christians who long to discern God’s will discover it in their growing knowledge of who God is and what He wants.
When believers please the Lord constantly, that is their Christian walk. When they produce fruit consistently, that is their Christian work. When they progress in knowledge continually, that is their Christian wisdom. When they persevere in stress cheerfully, that is their Christian welfare. When they praise God correctly, that is their Christian worship.
The better a person knows God and His Word, the better he or she knows what is pleasing to God-a knowledge that becomes second nature, producing confidence by discerning God’s will rather than fear. This knowledge produces fruitful character, conduct, conversation and contributions (giving of resources). It also increases, becoming a part of who they are. They no longer rely solely on experience; they progress in their understanding of God as they progress in their understanding of His Word. People who take God’s Word seriously don’t just read it to see what it says; they make it a map for life so they can learn what to do…and then they do it.
Those who immerse themselves in God’s wisdom know how to persevere for the long haul and in the daily grind not just in the moments of crisis. Followers of Christ do not simply endure difficulties as the world does; they triumph in them in joy because they see spiritual realities beyond their circumstances. Joyful living in the midst of difficulty is the litmus test for Christians, because its only source is God.
There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. It is a gift that Jesus paid for with His life. All we have to do is accept it in faith. When we do, we will be fit for heaven-a community where there are different laws and where we will be changed.
Paul knew he was Christ’s ambassador, and he offered proof with healings, conversions and the establishment of churches. We are Christians are also ambassadors for Christ. We have been called, and we are to be faithful to that call. We are Christ’s brothers and sisters.
Christ gives us direction. We see things are they are and we see where we are going. Our greatest need is the direction Christ gives us. That direction includes the freedom He gives us. That freedom includes freedom from Satan’s power. Satan’s power can only control us if we let it. If we say “no” to evil and “yes” to Christ, evil won’t have any control over our lives.
God is pleased when we depend on the Holy Spirit to do good works. He is also pleased when we spend time studying His Word and learning more about Him. He will give us spiritual understanding. Spiritual growth can’t happen unless we know God. We will know when spiritual growth happens when we have a deeper love for God’s Word, a more perfect obedience, a strong foundation in doctrine, and expanding faith and a greater love for others.
Do others know you’re a Christian by the way you walk? That doesn’t mean that you tiptoe or march, but how you live your life. Could someone tell you’re a Christian by your kindness, patience and joy? Or do you walk the same as everyone else? Ask God to give you the wisdom to walk in a way that honours Him.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New Kings James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p. 1670)
- “Watch your Walk.” Retrieved from www.keysforkids.com
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
- Dunnam, M.D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 31: Galatians/Ephesians/Philippians/Colossians/Philemon Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; pp. 327-340)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles bible: New Kings James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)