Open Your Bible
Colossians 1:3-14, Psalm 1:1-3, Matthew 24:14, Ephesians 1:7-8
BY Missy Fuller
My obsession with lists runs deep. I’ve never understood how some of you can live without them. How do you keep track of all those to-dos? More importantly, how can you resist the satisfaction of making a list just to cross off all the things you’ve already accomplished?! It’s a mystery to me.
Lists give me a sense of structure and focus—a bit of clarity in an otherwise confusing and chaotic world. If you ask me, Paul was a list guy too. For starters, he lists all the reasons he and Timothy are thankful for the church in Colossae:
They had love for God’s people (v. 4).
They received the gospel (v. 4-5).
The gospel in them was bearing fruit in the world (v. 5).
They recognized God’s grace in the truth (v. 6).
Talk about encouraging! Who doesn’t love a list like that?
But Paul’s list-making tendencies move on to an even more profound purpose: he sets the tone for the rest of his letter to the Colossians by spelling out his specific prayer for them as a church. Look at this brief but powerful list Paul prays for the Colossians in this short passage:
That they would grow in the knowledge of God (v. 10).
That they would endure by Christ’s power (v. 11).
That they would have patience by Christ’s strength (v. 11).
That they would give thanks to God the Father (v. 12).
Why does Paul ask these things for his brothers and sisters at Colossae? The answer is in verse 10: “so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him.”
Worthy. That’s a heavy word. I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time seeing myself as worthy of lots of things, let alone the God of the universe. The harder I try to earn my worthiness, the more I seem to become aware of my shortcomings. When I rely on my own strength and strive to live worthy of my God, I fall flat on my face. Perhaps you, like me, see this calling from Paul in Colossians 1:10-12 and start looking for ways to check the boxes to worthiness. It’s difficult to turn our focus away from doing all the “right things” when it’s spelled out for us like this. It’s tangible, like our to-do lists, and we like to see our progress and accomplishments as we work through these things.
But there is only one thing that makes us worthy of the Lord: faith in Jesus. We can’t obey the call to walk worthy without remembering where our worthiness comes from.
Galatians 3:13 promises this: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.” We no longer live under the checklist curse, having to follow every letter and check every box in order to please God. As we grow in our love for Him and our understanding of His love for us, our focus gradually shifts from our attempts at making ourselves worthy, to giving thanks for a Savior who has redeemed us and made us worthy.
Before we close our Bibles today, let’s look at one more list. In Colossians 1:12, Paul reminds us of the incredible blessings we have as followers of Christ:
We share in Christ’s inheritance.
We are rescued from darkness.
We are welcomed into Christ’s Kingdom.
And we have received redemption from sin and death!
Now, that is a list we can all get excited about. It is the list that has been fully checked off by Jesus on our behalf, and none of our shortcomings can subtract from it. May we cling to Him today, trusting that we are worthy because of His saving work in us.