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Four Signs of a Spiritual Life



“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
– Colossians 1:9-14

Key Takeaway

As believers in Christ, we are not called to hide away from the world but rather be light in it. Our lives are characterized by our fruit and should draw others to Christ in a meaningful way.

You are meant to engage in the world, but you have to be equipped to engage in a meaningful way.

Paul is writing to a young Church and reminding them of who they are in Christ. They haven't outgrown their need for Him. They still grow in Him.

No one is born a Christian. We are made in His image but only made Christian by grace through faith. We enter into His family through adoption. You know another Christian by their fruit. Justification, a change in identity, comes before sanctification, a change in activity.

The whole point of this passage is that Paul is asking God to equip them, and then he teaches them how to engage.

What does Paul ask God to equip them with? Colossians 1:9

  • Knowledge- data, information, facts
  • Wisdom- ethics in the real world, applied street knowledge
  • Understanding- comprehension, insight

When Paul is asking for the Church in Colossae to be filled, he is asking that they know that the fullness of these things are found in Christ. There is no special knowledge that you need. Christ was crucified in public, not in secret. He wants them to have understanding. It's not enough to know. You have to understand. Sometimes it's not a lack of information. It's a lack of maturity.

Exodus 31: 3-4 tells of the first man filled with the Spirit, and it's with the same thing that Paul asks for us: ability, intelligence, and knowledge.

Isaiah 11:2 is where the prophet says the same thing about Jesus. The Spirit is on Him, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.

How does the Christian engage with the world?

  1. Fruitful Works
    • Colossians 1:10- we do good work! Things that God would identify as good. Do it in a way that the Spirit can work a miracle and make you bear fruit. Are you doing good work? Prayed for people? Encouraged someone? You have to drop the seeds for God to make them grow.
  2. Increasing Knowledge
    • Also, in verse 10. Paul is keeping Psalm 1 in mind. There is fruit growing, and it has to be watered with the Word. They know God more as they are ever-increasing in their walk. Healthy things grow in knowledge. What are you feeding your soul? Even at the end of his life, Paul asked for the scrolls so he could continue to read the Word. What would you ask for if you knew you didn't have much time left?
  3. Powered Endurance
    • Colossians 1:11. The word "endure" is "hypomone" in Greek, meaning even when there is a heavy weight on me, I can still stand up under it. "Patience" is "makrothymia," which represents taking heat for a long time.
    • One of the most frequent pieces of evidence of a converted heart is someone who can endure with patience. They can bear up under a heavy weight and take the heat for a long time. How does this happen? Through a supernatural power.
    • Some of our examples are Christians during the time of Nero and Jesus on the Cross. Both prayed for their enemies and didn't curse them. Rome was changed by the power working in them and through them. Children of God look like their Dad.
  4. Joyful Gratitude
    • Colossians 1:12. We give thanks to the Father. Adam and Eve neither glorified God nor gave thanks. All the darkness in the world started with a lack of gratitude. The heart naturally abhors a vacuum. If you don't actively have gratitude for God in your heart, then entitlement will rush in. Entitlement always becomes resentment, and resentment becomes attack.
    • The world is filled with chaos and anger, but we focus on the beautiful things. We give thanks that we have a Father who has qualified us to share an inheritance. We don't qualify ourselves. We didn't fit the criteria to be an heir, so He equipped us and suited us for eternal life through Jesus.


"The Christian is meant to live an informed, educated, action-oriented life. That the Spirit of God fills me with information for transformation, filled with knowledge so I can live skillfully for Him."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • Colossians 1:9-14
  • Psalm 1
  • Exodus 31:3-4
  • Colossians 2:2-3
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.