“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.”
Though Paul was not present with the church at Colosse, he was concerned about their spiritual well-being and was encouraged by their progress. Their growth in grace caused the man of God to rejoice. There are few things that could encourage a preacher’s heart more than seeing God at work in His children and His churches. Paul commended them for the steadfastness of their faith. They were steady and stable Christians.
The apostle also noted that he was “beholding your order.” The word order speaks of arrangement and discipline. Paul commended these believers for the structure of their lives, and we can be certain that God is interested in the order and discipline of our individual lives as well as that of His churches. From the beginning, we learn that God is concerned about order. We see this in His creation, in the order of the solar system, in the seasons, in the invention of time and schedule, in the chain of authority, and in other ways.
One characteristic of our lives before we were surrendered to Christ was a lack of order. There was little personal discipline or commitment to following God’s prescribed order. Dependability, protocol, and steadfastness were not a priority. There is an apparent lack of order today in many lives and homes. There seems to be no real commitment to living orderly lives. Structure is not modeled by the parents nor expected of the children. The absence of order leaves a great vacuum in a home or ministry.
To the church at Corinth, God said, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40). The alternative to order is confusion or chaos. Again to the Corinthians, God said, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (I Corinthians 14:33). Where there is no order, there will be no peace. These Corinthians were plagued with a lack of order. There was confusion in their worship, in their doctrine, in their families, in the way they resolved conflicts, in their view of spiritual leadership, etc. By contrast, the order of the Colossians was noticed and appreciated by Paul. May this serve as a personal reminder to work hard at getting our lives in order.