The Apostle Paul taught the Colossian church: “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
What is required for a pleasing walk? Paul tells us: “Put on therefore, as the chosen of God, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, whoever has a complaint against another; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Colossians 3:12-13, my paraphrase).
Paul is telling us in so many words: “Here is my word to you in these critical times. In light of the hard times you know are coming, you are to measure your walk with the Lord.”
In other words, we are to ask ourselves: “Am I becoming more like Christ? Am I growing more patient, or more quick-tempered? Kinder and gentler, or meaner and more argumentative? More tender and forgiving, or more bitter, holding onto grudges? Do I ‘bear with others’? Do I put up with the weaknesses and faults of those near to me, or do I always have to be right?”
Paul is suggesting that, in light of such a coming day, it doesn’t matter what works you accomplish or what charitable deeds you do. No matter how kind you are to strangers, no matter how many souls you bring to Christ, this question remains: Are you becoming more loving, patient, forgiving, forbearing?
Examining your walk with Christ means looking not so much at what you are doing, as at what you are becoming. Such a walk cannot be achieved by human effort alone. It won’t happen by self-determination, merely saying, “I am going to become that kind of believer.” Rather, it happens by the work of the Holy Spirit, through faith in his Word.
First, we read these words and believe them to be God’s call to us, to examine ourselves. So we ask the Spirit to show us who we truly are, and measure ourselves by his Word. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us change.