Proverbs 18 & Colossians 1

Proverbs 18

    Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
        he breaks out against all sound judgment.
    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
        but only in expressing his opinion.
    When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
        and with dishonor comes disgrace.
    The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
        the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
    It is not good to be partial to the wicked
        or to deprive the righteous of justice.
    A fool's lips walk into a fight,
        and his mouth invites a beating.
    A fool's mouth is his ruin,
        and his lips are a snare to his soul.
    The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
        they go down into the inner parts of the body.
    Whoever is slack in his work
        is a brother to him who destroys.
    The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
        the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
    A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
        and like a high wall in his imagination.
    Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
        but humility comes before honor.
    If one gives an answer before he hears,
        it is his folly and shame.
    A man's spirit will endure sickness,
        but a crushed spirit who can bear?
    An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
        and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
    A man's gift makes room for him
        and brings him before the great.
    The one who states his case first seems right,
        until the other comes and examines him.
    The lot puts an end to quarrels
        and decides between powerful contenders.
    A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
        and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
    From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
        he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
    Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
        and those who love it will eat its fruits.
    He who finds a wife finds a good thing
        and obtains favor from the LORD.
    The poor use entreaties,
        but the rich answer roughly.
    A man of many companions may come to ruin,
        but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
    

(Proverbs 18 ESV)

Colossians 1

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

    To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

    We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

    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. May you be 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.

    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

    And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

(Colossians 1 ESV)

Colossians 1: In observing the way in which the apostle Paul prays for his fellow Christians, we might conclude that one of our greatest needs in this life is to “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Such spiritual wisdom equips us to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” and empowers us to “bear fruit in every good work and to increase in the knowledge of God.” Despite our modern distaste for the diligent study of Scripture and Christian doctrine, Paul declares that vitality in the Christian life comes from the richly watered soil of understanding the grace of God in truth.

How much more grateful and joyful might we find ourselves in our Christian lives of service when we’ve come to contemplate and understand that “God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.” We now belong to the King of kings who not only rules over us as Lord but is also the One who has sacrificially secured our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins. Do we have a clear understanding of these truths and the implications that they have on our lives? 

We have been set free from the reign of sin in our lives, but we have not been set free to now go and live with a sense of self-rule and freedom from authority. We have not merely been set free to live as we please in the name of grace but have also been transferred into a Kingdom under a new rule governed by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian belongs to Christ. The Christian is a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom. The Christian is a servant of Christ as King. 

How much more grateful and joyful might we find ourselves in our Christian lives of service when we’ve come to contemplate and understand that our King “is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, and in Him all things are held in order. He is the head of the church and the firstborn from the dead. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him, God reconciled all things to Himself making peace by the blood of His cross.” Do we have a clear understanding of who it is we serve and the awe-inspiring glory of this kind of King?

May we get over our distaste for doctrine and get on with the diligent study of God’s Word in order that we may never wander away from the great hope and joy that is found in a clear understanding of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we learn to truly love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul, and only then will we find ourselves truly living the Christian life with the proper motivation that promises to help us walk in a manner that is pleasing to our Lord.