The Fullness: Colossians 1:10b-14
Pleasing the Lord – 1:10b-14
…bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
There are four ways by which we please Jesus:
- Bearing fruit in good works;
- Growing in our knowledge of God;
- Being strengthened by God so that we can have endurance and patience;
- Giving joyful thanks to God the Father.
The four qualities could be summed up by these words: Faithfulness, Wisdom, Perseverance, and Gratitude. Certainly these are not the only ways that we can please Jesus, but they are among the most important.
We please the Lord when we do good works that bear kingdom fruit. This is not to be confused with the vain attempt to earn your salvation. Instead, good works honor the Good King. Jesus is pleased when we testify to the goodness of his kingdom by serving others in a sacrificial way. His kingdom goes forth in power as we lay down our lives for others, taking up our crosses and following him.
Secondly, we please the Lord when we grow in our knowledge of him. Our God is a self-revealing God. He wants to be known, and he has made himself known primarily through Jesus Christ, but also through the Scriptures, through nature, and through a personal relationship made available through prayer. Conversely, God is not pleased when we become stagnant and apathetic. Complacency dishonors God. Because he is ever self-revealing, we always have opportunity to know God more.
Thirdly, we please the Lord when we are strengthened by him for the purpose of persevering through trials and suffering. God makes us strong. God helps us to endure impossible situations. He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, comforting and strengthening us in those dark places. “Neither circumstances nor people are to upset the person who walks in the will of God. Divine power is available to those who know Christ.”[i] It is in these times that we often grow the most in our knowledge and understanding of God.
God helps us to endure impossible situations.
Faithfulness. Wisdom. Perseverance. Gratitude. These are the qualities that we must possess in order to please the Lord. But these are not things we are left to gin up in our own power. We can manifest these qualities because God’s will is knowable; and God’s will is knowable because the Spirit is giving us tremendous wisdom and understanding. Here we have a glorious picture of the Trinity’s activity: We please Jesus because we know God’s will through the wisdom given by the Spirit.
Paul finishes this section by lifting our eyes to the heavens. We can joyfully give thanks to the Father because he has qualified us, in Christ, to inherit the kingdom of light. We could not take hold of it in our own strength, but he has given it to us through the work of Christ in his death and resurrection. It is through the cross and empty tomb that God has rescued all who call on the name of Jesus from the kingdom of darkness, which was our rightful inheritance. But by his grace, he has redeemed us from death, forgiven our sins, and flung wide the gates of the kingdom of Christ so that we may enter and inherit it.
It is one thing to know that God is pleased with me, or at least that he loves me enough to send his Son to die for my sins. But it is something else altogether to live a life that pleases Jesus. Yes, Jesus loves me. But am I loving him back? Paul has given us four ways to love and please Jesus: Faithfulness (bearing fruit in good works), Wisdom (growing in our knowledge of God), Perseverance (being strengthened by God so that we can have endurance and patience), and Gratitude (joyfully giving thanks to God the Father). Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to help you love and please Jesus.
- Who can I bless this week with my time, gifts, or finances?
- Who can I share the Gospel with this month?
- Who can I encourage with kindness today?
- What is one thing that I can do this week to take a big step outside of my comfort zone?
- What book has God been putting on my heart to read? (Buy it or borrow it and read it!)
- What book of the Bible can I read from start to finish this week (short one) or month (long one)?
- What is the Holy Spirit saying to me personally, and how can I make his words really stick?
- Who can I learn from that I would normally dismiss out of hand?
- What have I been dreading that I can finally tackle this week?
- Who really annoys me or frustrates me, and how can I show them love today?
- How can I prepare my soul for the difficult seasons of life that are sure to come?
- What have I given up on that I need to pick up again?
- What has God done in my life in the past 7 days for which I haven’t thanked him enough?
- What has God done in my life in the past 10 years for which I haven’t thanked him enough?
- What are the sources of bitterness or entitlement that prevent me from being joyfully thankful?
- What can I let go of in my heart that will make room for gratitude?
[i] Melick, R. R., p. 204.