Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Work and Knowledge

When I was in high school I participated in Bible Quizzing. For those of you who don't know it's a competition where you score points by answering questions about certain passages of Scripture, quoting Scripture, and generally being the first to jump off your buzzer to answer the question. Colossians was one of my books my junior year and I had memorized almost the whole book then. You would think that I know it inside and out. But there is a big difference between knowing what it says and applying it to your life. And God reveals certain truths at certain times in your life. What I learned in these verses fits in perfectly with my theme for 2014 (which will probably continue to be my life theme): a woman of the Word and a woman of my work.
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;     Colossians 1:10

Let's note two things and then talk about the second one. 

1. The primary objective is to live in a way that pleases God. 

2. There is an important balance between learning and work. 

We are to be "increasing in the knowledge of God." We need to be learning about Jesus and how He did things. We need to learn how He wants us to do things and how He loves us. But that's not all. We are also to be "fruitful in every good work." That means we pursue excellence in the work that God has given us. We're not just learning but we're using what we've learned in our lives. We are to be fruitful-effective- in every good work. 

The knowledge part- the learning- is my favorite part. I've always loved school and I love learning. I like to read and study my Bible. I like to read what others have written about the Bible. I like to write what I'm learning so that I can share it with others. I feel spiritual when I'm reading and studying. 

But the verse doesn't just say to be "increasing in the knowledge of God." It also says to be "fruitful in every good work." Being fruitful in good works pleases God just as much as my time increasing in the knowledge of God. Fruitful means "productive, plenteous, abundance." My good works should be growing and growing each day! 

For me that means dinner needs to be cooked, laundry needs to be folded, preschool needs to be taught, games need to be played in the yard, floors need mopped. We have to go to the grocery story and go out soul-winning. These are not second-class activities. They aren't works that I have to do but God rolls His eyes because they take up so much of my time. God designed them as part of my eternal work as a wife and mother. 

That changes my perspective so much! Instead of seeing the work of my life as a necessary evil that removes me from studying the Bible I can see my work as pleasing God. I can see my work as part of that vital balance that should characterize all believers. Why? Because what we learn in the Bible should affect our lives or it's not real.

Maybe the works part is easy for you. Maybe for you that's the part that feel spiritual because you are doing it for Christ. But do you push aside your time with God to do that work? Is your to-do list more important than your prayer list? We have to have both learning and work in balance to live that life that is pleasing to God. 

Everything in its appropriate place. God would not be happy with me if I replaced my time studying and learning His Word with work. But neither would He be happy if I neglected the great work He has given me to simply store knowledge in my head. And it would only be in my head because if it affected my heart, it would affect my life! So let what you are learning affect how you live! Grow in those good works knowing that God is smiling as you do!

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