“Because of this, we also, from the day we heard, do not cease praying and requesting on your behalf, that you may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in every kind of spiritual wisdom and understanding, walking worthily of the Lord, pleasing in every thing, producing fruit in every good work and increasing in the full knowledge of God, being empowered with every kind of power according to the dominion of His glory into every kind of endurance and patience; with joy giving thanks to the Father who qualified you for a share of the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light; who delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son; in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:9-14 (JLTV) (JLTV = Jim Laupp Translation Version)
This is the passage of scripture for this Sunday’s sermon. As I was translating and reading it, I couldn’t help but get pumped about what Paul wrote! This is the reality for every believer, every follower of Jesus Christ! I can only imagine Paul’s attitude of excitement as he wrote these words. I say it in that way because I know the excitement I have when I read it.
It is far too often that followers of Jesus have what has been termed “a poverty mindset.” This mindset causes a follower of Jesus to forget about what is his/her reality in life. A follower has “full knowledge” of God’s will through “every kind of spiritual wisdom and understanding.” A follower of Jesus produces fruit in doing good works through which s/he increases in his/her “full knowledge” of God, His character and who He is for him/her at that specific time.
This follower forgets that s/he has been “empowered with every kind of power,” the power that is found in the “dominion of God’s glory” which produces in us endurance and patience.
This follower forgets that s/he has been “qualified” by God for a share in the inheritance He has given to the saints. And this is an inheritance which is both present and future. It is present because, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:3 (“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavens in Christ.”), we have already been given these blessings which are part of our inheritance from God. It is future because we have not yet realized our glorification which God will reveal at the return of our Lord Jesus.
This follower forgets that s/he has been delivered/removed from the authority of the darkness. The ultimate darkness is death. We have been removed from that authority. It no longer has any dominion over us. What happens way too often, though, is that followers of Jesus behave like grave robbers; we dig our old selves up!!! That old nature is dead; let it stay dead! We need to act like who we really are – new creations in Christ!
In verse 15, Paul continues by saying that Christ is “the image of the invisible God.” In connection with that, Paul says in Romans 8:29 that God’s purpose is to “conform us to the image of His Son.” That means that ultimately, God is conforming us to His image, just like He created humanity in the beginning, before that image was marred, distorted and scarred by sin and its effects. That means we are to be earthly reflections of God and Who He is in His character and the way He responds to different situations.
That means that followers of Jesus are to be the most loving, most joyful, most patient, most peaceful, most kind, most considerate, most humble, most meek, most enduring, most faithful, most trustworthy, most gracious, most merciful, most forgiving of all people upon the face of the earth.
When those qualities and characteristics are demonstrated by us more and more, we demonstrate that we are moving into a fuller and full knowledge of God.
The more we respond, behave and act according to His will, the more we demonstrate a fuller and full knowledge of His will.
Having a “poverty mindset” causes us to forget who we are and Whose we are. This knowledge doesn’t move us into an attitude of pride, but moves us into conformity to the image of His Son.
Having a “poverty mindset” holds us back because we focus on the past. This is called having a “present-past” perspective. When that is the perspective (which the church has had way too much, unfortunately), the church becomes nothing more than a “sin-management” entity.
God calls, and continues to call, us to move from our present into our future, which He has created for us. That means our perspective must be “present-future.” This means that we continually walk forward into the identity by which He already knows us. This means that this identity continues to become our earthly reality more and more every day, more and more through every situation encountered, whether good or bad.
We have been empowered with every kind of power available in the dominion of His glory. This is an abundance of resources.
We must remember that God has an abundance; the enemy has a budget.
I pray that we, as sharers of the inheritance for which God has qualified us, live in this mindset, one of God’s abundance and power and not the one of a “poverty mindset” which views everything as limited and on a budget.