The Christian Life: God's Will

9. What Does It Mean to Walk Worthy of Christ?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
In Colossians chapter one, the Apostle Paul gives six key characteristics of a worthy walk.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part nine of a series. Read part eight.

In Colossians chapter one, the Apostle Paul gives six key characteristics of a worthy walk.

We are now at a transition point in our study of Colossians 1:9-12. In previous studies, we have considered seven propositions that emanate from the Apostle Paul's prayer for the Colossian believers, "that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him" (Colossians 1:9-10). In our last study, we saw that the knowledge of God's will of which Paul speaks has a specific purpose: a walk that is worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, we take up the question we asked at the end of our last study: What are the characteristics of such a worthy walk? To answer that question, I want to begin by giving you an expanded translation of the last part of verse nine, which takes us into verse ten. Paul prays that the Colossians "may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may continually conduct and occupy your life, and continually regulate your behavior, in a way that is suitable, fitting, and worthy of the One who is your Lord, with this goal constantly before you: fully pleasing Him."

Six Characteristics of a Worthy Walk

As we look closely at Colossians 1:10-12 we find that the Holy Spirit through Paul lays out several key characteristics of a walk that is worthy of the name of Christ. As was the case in verse nine, we find that these characteristics can be broken down a set of declarative truths, six in all. I want to introduce those six characteristics to you today, explain each one only briefly. Beginning with our next study we shall examine each one in more depth.

  1. Walking worthy of the Lord means pursuing the goal of pleasing the Lord in everything you do, in all areas of your life. We find this in verse ten: "that you might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him," in other words, conducting your entire life with a view toward pleasing Christ.

  2. Walking worthy of the Lord means continually bearing the right kind of fruit. We find this also in verse ten: "being fruitful in every good work."

  3. Walking worthy of the Lord means continually increasing in your knowledge of God. We find that also in verse ten. The Christian needs to accumulate knowledge of God from His Word for the right reason, for the goal of a worthy walk. Because a worthy walk is a lifetime pursuit, increasing your knowledge of God is also a lifetime pursuit. A Christian can never say, "I know enough. I have arrived. I do not need any more. I can rest on the knowledge I have." God always has more to teach you. You will never exhaust the depths of His Word. You can never know enough about your God.

  4. Walking worthy of the Lord means continually receiving God's strength. We find that in verse 11: "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power." Not proceeding in our own strength, but in God's strength. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Paul says in Philippians 4:13. And here in Colossians the word "strengthened" is a passive verb. It is something God does to us and for us.

  5. Walking worthy of the Lord means that God will build patience and longsuffering into your way of life. We find this also in verse 11: "for all patience and longsuffering with joy" The word "patience" has to do with endurance, with steadfast waiting on God. The word "longsuffering" has to do with calmness and forbearance in the Christian life, not seeking to avenge wrongs, but to leave the outcome of all things, even the things we view as injustices, in God's hands.

  6. Walking worthy of the Lord involves continually giving joyful praise to God, because of what He has done for us through Christ. In most Bible translations, the words "with joy" appear at the end of verse eleven, which connects them with patience and longsuffering. But those words also have a connection to what follows in verse twelve: "with joy giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light." The reason the Christian can praise and thank God the Father, even in the midst of situations that require patience and longsuffering, is because of what God the Father has done for us through Christ. We have a glorious inheritance - the New Heavens and the New Earth, eternal life with Christ, and all the yet-to-be-revealed glories that await us. All because of the preeminent Christ!

Next: What Does It Mean to Fully Please Christ?

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