Wholeheartedly – Colossians 3:23

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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The NFL Pro Bowl is a one game competition between the elite players from both leagues.  NFL players, coaches, and fans vote for who they consider to be the best four or five at every position. These players play one semi-competitive game. Those chosen consider it a great honor to be so recognized by their peers. However, by comparison to the players’ usual salary, the financial compensation is not great enough to risk an injury that may end their career. Consequently, the participants only halfheartedly play the game. In 2015, the play was so lackluster that some of the fans attending began to boo the players.

The Apostle Paul gave a number of instructions to the saints in Colossians 3: seek things above, put to death sinful habits, put on the new man, let God’s Word dwell in you richly, and submit to proper authority. However, Paul seems to have anticipated only a half-hearted response because he concludes by saying: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (3:23). As a Jew, Paul was keenly aware of the constant promptings in the Old Testament to not simply follow the Lord half-heartedly. Israel’s pattern was to be wayward, then return to the Lord only after being chastened. But it was often with little commitment. So, the Lord warned them to “…return unto the Lord thy God…with all thine heart, and with all thy soul…” (Deuteronomy 30:2). What the Lord really wanted from Israel was for them to follow Him whole-heartedly. The Old Testament often repeats God’s commandments for them to love, follow, and serve Him with all their hearts. Among the best verses that demonstrates this is Joshua 22:5, which says: “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law…to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways, and…to cleave unto Him, and serve Him with all your heart, and with all your soul.” Similarly, the Apostle Paul did not want to see only a half-hearted effort on the part of the saints at Colossae. He wanted to see them apply the instructions in God’s Word “heartily,” or with all their heart and might.

As we read this, may the Lord speak to our hearts about how fervently we are following Him. He would have us read His Word, follow Scripture, attend church, pray, and serve Him with all our hearts. Decide today that this is how you will follow Christ.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."