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A Renewed Perspective: A Meditation On Colossians 1:9-12

Our perspective is the lens through which we see the world and interpret the events around us. However, oftentimes, our perspective can become skewed. Whether it's difficult life circumstances, prolonged suffering, or relationship conflict, we can lose sight of the truth and become distracted, discouraged, or lose hope. It is in these moments that we need something to help renew our perspective. We need unchanging truth that will give us hope and direction in what might seem to be an impossible situation. 


As believers, the unchanging truth we need is found in Scripture. When we read through the Bible, we are reminded of the truth of God’s character and our identity and purpose. It is this truth that refocuses us on the promises of God as we pray for encouragement, endurance, and wisdom. 


While there are many passages in Scripture that highlight these valuable truths, one of my favorites is Colossians 1:9-12. In four short verses, Paul prays for the church at Colossae to have a renewed perspective as they come to know God, be transformed by God, and live for God.


Let’s take a look at Paul’s prayer and learn how his words can help us renew our perspective.  


KNOWING GOD


Paul begins his prayer by asking for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. The mystery of God’s will is only something that can be revealed by God himself, and this revelation is what we see happen throughout the pages of Scripture. As we read it, we come to understand God’s character and purposes. Whether it is in the story of creation in Genesis 1, the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, or the Great Commandment in Mark 12, Scripture reveals to us that God is a God of love and He loves two things – himself and creation/humanity. Out of this love, he desires for us to grow in intimacy with him and be transformed to reflect his character. God’s will is not merely his specific purpose for a specific situation but also the fullness of what he is accomplishing in this world - our perfect and eternal fellowship with him. 


To be filled with the knowledge of something means that knowledge controls us. Therefore, to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will means what He reveals to us about his character and purposes should control our minds, hearts, and actions. Information from the news, friends, or even social media has to submit to God’s truth. 


However, this control or influence does not happen by our own power but through the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. In the last part of Colossians 1:9, Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit empowers us to grow in a knowledge of God’s will.  When we submit ourselves to God, the Holy Spirit shifts our perspective. We don’t need to “try harder”; he does the hard work for us! 




TRANSFORMED BY GOD 


In Colossians 1:10, Paul prays that the knowledge of God’s will would help believers lead transformed lives. To “walk worthy” is to daily live in light of Christ’s sacrifice, honoring the one who created us and gave his life for us. The beauty of God’s character and nature should lead us to live with the goal of pleasing him as we forsake our own way to live for his way.  


But, a life that pleases the Lord will also be marked by spiritual fruitfulness. As our perspective is focused on God, we begin to see each day as another opportunity to do good works for the Lord. Whether it's with a coworker, family member, or friend, God intentionally places us in situations that will grow us spiritually. When our perspective is renewed, we begin to see hardship as opportunities for growth and spiritual fruitfulness. Nothing in God’s economy is wasted, He uses everything for our good and his glory. 


LIVE FOR GOD


Paul closes out his prayer by showing how a renewed perspective causes us to live differently. Through his final words in Colossians 1:11-12, we can see that “a life pleasing to God is a life empowered by God. God’s glorious, mighty power makes it possible for believers to be steadfast, patient, and joyful.”(1)


The Colossian church was experiencing opposition and cultural pressure from false teachers. In spite of these difficulties, Paul prays that they would be steadfast, patient, and thankful. He prays that they would be unmoved by hard times and unbothered by difficult people, all while having a spirit of gratitude. 


Knowledge about God shifts the way we view the world and results in a spiritual transformation that ultimately affects how we handle our life circumstances. Instead of crumbling under the weight of difficulty, we become resilient, strengthened by our trust and hope in the Lord. 


If we are honest, the hardship of life can cause us to become discouraged or distracted. In these moments, we need to stop and pause to refocus on God. His truth will renew our perspective, giving us the hope and clarity we need to overcome difficulty as we joyously live for him.



(1)Todd D. Still, “Colossians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 285.



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