“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:22-23).
This teaching comes at the end of a series of “behavioral instructions” to family members that Paul is sending to the Colossian church, this instruction being directed toward those called bondservants at that time—it corresponds to employees in our society.
The core of the message centers around integrity—he is teaching workers not to be hypocritical in their service to those over them: they are not to pretend to be good, honest, faithful workers when their supervisors are around and then be the opposite when they are not.
Paul carries his instruction further in the next verse by making it a spiritual command: whatever we do as a worker, we do it with the same fervor and integrity we have when we are working for the Lord. If all workers exercised this kind of work ethic, how different our world would be.
Continuation of last week’s Thought
“…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Paul explains the reason for the prayer he has made for the Christians to whom he is writing: that is, he wants them to be able to walk worthy of the Lord and to please Him by being fruitful and continuing to increase in knowledge.
Several beneficial messages come from this verse: one is that Christians are to “walk worthy,” not meaning they deserve anything the Lord has done for them but meaning they are faithful to adhere to the standard of life He has laid out in His word.
As well, the Lord has always told His people to be productive in His work, no matter the Age in which they are living. We, as followers of Jesus, are productive when we bear fruit for Him and when we continue our efforts to learn more about Him and His will; thus, we increase in knowledge.
God’s desires are not unreasonable nor impossible. It is quite possible for us to learn more about His will—as well, we can be a beneficial member of His Kingdom by working hard enough to help it to grow. It’s really a matter of our own desires—we have to want to.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:9).
Paul has heard from several sources that the Colossians have great faith and have love for all the saints. Because of this fact, he is thankful; and he prays for something wonderful for them: that they be filled with knowledge as well as the wisdom to apply what they have learned.
Such a request could be made for every Christian in every generation: first of all, we need knowledge. And knowledge is available when we put forth the effort to read more—that is, to develop a program for reading the Bible regularly without distraction.
The next step is to pray for wisdom so that we can be discriminating in using this knowledge. Finally, we hold firmly to what we learn to be true.
To be successful spiritually and to show that we are making God the top priority in our lives, we must make these three steps a major part of our spiritual journey. In doing so, we can feel secure in holding the hope of heaven firmly in our hearts.
“And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).
A friend is a person “with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of intimacy or family relations.” The declaration in this passage indicates Abraham has the closest relationship a human could have with God. And, the basis of Abraham’s friendship with God is based on the fact that he “believed God.”
To be called a friend of God is tantamount to being called a friend of Jesus—and He is the one whom God sent to give the greatest expression of closeness one could ever give another. He sacrificed His life for every person who has ever lived or who will ever live.
If we seriously want to go to Heaven, we will want to be a friend of Jesus Christ; and to have Jesus as our friend, we must “believe” Him. Evidence of our belief is really quite simple: we follow the example Jesus left us, and we follow the direction He gave us in His word. The reward for this kind of friendship is a home with Him in Heaven.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
In scripture, the word “fear” is always used positively when it refers to our fear of God; but when it is used negatively, it refers to our feelings of hesitation when we are confronted with making a decision or having a biblical discussion that may bring a negative reaction from others. In this verse, it refers to the latter situation.
Paul advises this young preacher that he should not hesitate to stand up for what is right when it comes to matters relating to the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, some do hesitate when an opportunity to share a precept from the gospel message presents itself.
The apostle says, “Don’t have this spirit of fear.” Perhaps it is a feeling of being shunned or ridiculed—even persecuted—or perhaps it is a feeling of inadequacy; but regardless, we must share what we know for the spiritual benefit of others and not let fear hold us back.
For our benefit, we have the power of the gospel, the love of God, and a sound mind that God has given to guide us in such situations, always being discreet in the use of our words and manifesting a spirit of love.