Older Now Than When I Was Young

Bible Book: Colossians  1 : 9-14
Subject: Senior Adults; Faithfulness; Growing in Christ; Living for Jesus

Older Now Than When I Was Young

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Colossians 1:9-14:

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

I am speaking today about getting older and I am addressing our senior adults - though everyone here needs to understand that you too will be a senior adult, if you live long enough. It is a good idea to pay attention and to commit your future life fully to Lord, for after all, He controls our years on this earth. The principles found here apply to everyone in every age bracket.

Life changes as we age, and life is altered drastically as we get a lot older. I remember being a boy growing up, but now I'm a man growing old. There is one thing that hasn't changed in all this time - the Lord is always the same. But that can't be said for us and our bodies. A wise older man said:

"I like my new bifocals

My dentures fit just fine

I have my hearing aid turned up

But Lord, how I miss my mind"

How do you know when your getting old?

  • You know you’re getting old when the phone rings on Saturday night and you hope it is not for you. 
  • You know you’re getting old when you are told to slow down by a doctor instead of a policeman.
  • You know you’re getting old when you turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
  • You know you’re getting old when you knees buckle and your belt won't buckle.
  • You know you’re getting old when you have too much room in your house and not enough room in your medicine cabinet.

As Christians we live in the awareness of the eternal, for there is in us a sense of our agelessness as believers. We are eternal creatures, since we will live with Christ forever. Of course, it can be said that all people are eternal, since those who are lost are also forever people, but they will live forever apart from God.

Christians cannot simply be interested in the eternal but must also remain focused on the natural and supernatural - that is, we are to seriously consider not just the length of our lives, but even more so the quality of our Christian living.

In our text today we note that Paul offers up a prayer to God, and his prayer is an excellent one for us to consider. As we think about aging, let us also consider our advancement in Christ. In other words, as we consider our progress in days let us also reflect upon our dedication to Christ.

Paul wrote the words in our passage today while he was in prison. People who write from prison often write seriously - they usually address important issues. Certainly Paul did that. So let's look at what Paul wrote and how it can help us facing our advancing years in Christ.

First, note ...

I. As We Age, We Can Know Better

Note in our passage that Paul reminded the Colossians that he was praying for them to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Paul was saying that there is always room for improvement in our spiritual understanding. Without question, there is a continuing expectation for advancement in our knowledge of God Himself. There remains in the child of God, to some degree, a mental vacuum regarding all that Gid is seeking to reveal to us. Paul said that the believer can grow in two ways in the knowledge of God.

A. Grow in your Knowledge of the Purpose of God

This is how Paul wrote  it, "...asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will..."

1. Facts

The word Paul used here is a Greek word, "sunesis." A 'sunesis' knowledge is one that makes us aware of the facts regarding God and God's will for our lives. God would have us to continually experience a 'sunesis' knowledge.

2. Function

Then Paul used another word in the text today, the Greek word, "sophia." This is another kind of knowledge, for this means to grow in one's ability to apply the facts to any given situation. You can know God's will but still not obey it. Sophia wisdom leads is to do that which we know God is leading us to do.

There are some Christians who do not grow in the basic knowledge of the Bible or the Christian life; however, more often it is the case that as we grow older we know better what is right and wrong according to God's Word and will. In other words, we have 'susesis' knowledge, but we simple refuse to be better - to do better - with the knowlege we have - to apply 'sophia' knowledge to our living - which involves the facts being applied into spiritual character and daily action.

There was a preacher who had great "sunesis" knowledge, but he lacked "sophia" knowledge. He was a great man, wrote several books that were popular. However, this well-informed preacher left his wife, his church and went to work in a mall. He failed at the "sophia" level of knowledge - the ability to apply to daily living that which he knew to true.

Listen, my friends, we need more than head knowledge to serve Christ. We need "feet" knowledge - we must get our LEARNING applied to our LIVING! Knowing must be wed to doing.

3. Faithfulness

Then Paul used another word to express knowledge. He used the Greek word "epignosis." This word means to know something through and through - a kind of super-knowledge, if you will. The word 'gnosis' (pronounced know-sis) means "to know" in Greek. The prefix "epi" means "through." Thus, Paul spoke of epignosis - which means to know something through and through, and to live it out. In other words, it means to have the knowledge of God going through you and being put into action in real life. This word contains the idea of helping others to know what you know. To grasp God's will through-and-through is a wonderful thing, for it leads to victory in Christian living. Also, it can aid us in aiding others. That is exactly what Paul was requesting for the Colossian Christians and for also for us in the prayer found in our text today.

Also, Paul's words are meant to help us ...

B. Grow in the Knowledge of the Person of God

Is is possible for me to know the Lord better and better? Sure it is. The problem with some people is that they imagine they know Christ when actually they have only heard about Him. They have never experienced Him through salvation. Yet, even being saved is not all there is to the Christian life. We are to grow in the knowledge and experience of walking with the Lord day-by-day. In other words, we are to become intimate with Him.

So first, know that as we age as Christians, we can know Him better. I expect all of us have heard the words, "You should have known better." When it comes to knowing our Lord, we should know Him better as the days and years pass by.

But, Paul addresses another issue in his prayer. He states that ...

II. As We Age, We Can Do Better

Knowledge always precedes action, but it is possible to have knowledge and not use it. Once we know better, we must begin to do better - to be better. We are to put into practice that which we know is proper and beneficial.

A. As We Age, Let Us Be More Pleasing to God

In the prayer we read from Colossians, we see that Paul was interested in the Colossian Christians actually walking "worthy" of the Lord. The word "worthy" speaks of weight. It means to be weighed in the balances of Jesus. Some of us "weigh" ourselves as compared to a preacher, a deacon or church leader. Still others weigh themselves as compared perhaps to the worst people in their community or generation. Listen, my friend, we can always find someone who is worse than we are, and then we can try to hide behind that person. Listen - God is not "weighing" us in comparison to those around us - He weighs us in the light of His Son. In His Light, how are we doing? Is God pleased with us? That is the question.

Just think seriously about whether you are walking worthy of the One who died and rose for your redemption. Surely those of us who have who have known Him longer ought to be serving Him better.

Again, note that ...

B. As We Age, Let Us Be More Productive For God

Paul prays that Christians might be "fruitful" in every good work. To be fruitful means that we are producing something from that which God has given us in Christ.

D.L. Moody perhaps spoke of this in the best and most simple way ever. He said that every Bible should be bound in shoe leather. That is, the Bible should be lived out in the life of every believer. We are not just to know the scripture but we are to live it in practical and productive ways.

Think of a child that sits at home while the parents are out for a few hours. The child does not destroy anything in the house. So, we might say, that is a good thing. But, the child doesn't do anything worth while either. No dishes are washed, the clothes are not placed in the washing machine, the floor is not vaccumed, the bed is not made - nothing of a positive or productive value is done at all by the child. How did the child do? Well, he didn't burn the house down, but he also accomplished nothing positive in assisting his parents. The Christian life is not just the absence of wrong things, it is the presence of the right things. So, what kind of fruit are we producing as we grow in age and grow in Christ?

Then Paul mentions one more thing ...

III. As We Age, We Can Be Better

As Paul continued his prayer in Colossians, he mentioned three ways in which believers can be better.

A. As We Age, We Can Be More Persistent

Paul used the Greek word "makrothumai," pronounced as "mack-ro-thu-my." The word means 'endurance' - or 'the ability and devotion that makes one consistent'.

The consistency spoken of in this text requires being dependable and steady, even when people are not treating you the way you feel you ought to be treated. It means to stay the course even when someone or some people are letting you down. It means to standfast in your place and show a love for Christ even when other people are not doing so. It means to keep on keeping on when others may be trying to hinder you.

I have known a number of Christians through the years who became disenchanted with service for Christ because they got their feelings hurt or felt unappreciated by those around them. You better get over that -  remember your Savior. Jesus went to the cross, even though one disciple sold him out, another disciple denied he had ever known him, another was a doubter, and the people in the City of Jerusalem screamed out, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" Jesus didn't quit, even when everyone deserted at the time He needed them most. To be like Jesus, we are to serve faithfully, even if we have to do it while others refuse to serve or even seek to hinder our service.

Also, Paul wrote that ...

B. As We Age, We Can Be More Patient

"Hupomune" is a word used by Paul in this passage. This word means to be "patient." It means to keep going forward even when circumstances are working against you. This word or idea refers to the long haul, the uphill struggle, or the boring daily duty of faithfulness to a cause.

My daughter Sherry is married to Vince, a Baptist preacher. When Sherry and Vince left for Southeastern Seminary, everything they had was in a moving van. The van stopped at a state weigh station, and while sitting in line to be weighed, the moving van caught on fire. Almost everything in that van was lost. Sherry and Vince were not deterred, they went on the seminary and he continued his education. Then, to make matters worse, Vince was struck while driving his car by a cement mixing truck. Even then, they patiently, steadily moved forward in serving and studying. Then, Sherry and Vince were struck head-on in a collision while driving one foggy morning. None of these incidents were their fault and any one of them could have caused them to give up and turn back from their commitment to serve God in the ministry. But, all these years later, Vince and Sherry continue to serve. He is pastor of the First Baptist Church, Cherryville, North Carolina and has remained steady through 20 years, even continuing to pastor and study, and in the process completed his doctoratel degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I have not been required to endure such patience in my ministry, but I do know that everyone is required to be patience in order to serve God faithfully - some of us more so than others.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD, no matter how hard it gets. Patience is required in service for God, but patience doesn't mean sitting still. I served the Lord in the Atlanta metro area for over 300 years. The traffic there requires concentration, courage and lots of prayer. When entering the interstate highway from a on-ramp in Atlanta, one often sees a sign that reads, KEEP MOVING. The driver is not to stop but to keep going and merge into traffic, otherwise a serious series of accidents can occur involving the cars behind the merging driver. That is what God tells us to do - KEEP MOVING FOR JESUS! Don't stop! Don't slow down! Don't quit!

If you are easily discouraged, you will never be effective in the service of God. For senior adults, and every age group in the kingdom, this means that you must "keep on keeping on" in the service of Christ all the way to the end.

Also, note that ...

C. We Can Offer More Praise

Note how Paul mentions "Joy" and "Thankfulness."

Paul spoke of keeping our joy. We cannot and must not become old and cranky. We cannot help getting old - but we can keep our joy. We can do this by remembering how good God has been to us.


A sentence of death!


The sinful nature and sinful acts of our lives.


Let me conclude with a story.

I served in Vietnam and when I learned that my wife's brother, Kenny, was being sent there, I was aware that it was not going to be easy for him. He was sent to Vietnam after I had already returned home from a tour of duty. While there, Kenny was hit by shrapnel and injured in several places. They flew him by helicopter to a hospital ship, and once he was stable they flew him to the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. It took a long time, but he was restored to health and lived for many years afterward. They took him out of the battle, but more importantly they had to take the battle out of him. They flew him out of danger, but he was not out of full danger until they were able to do surgery and remove sharpnel from his body.

Listen! Jesus took me out of danger when He saved me, but He also took the thing out of me that was worst of all. He removed the sin from me. But, He did even more. He placed His nature in me in the person of the Holy Spirit. How wonderful it is to live one's life for Christ.

So, let us grow old being THANKFUL, FAITHFUL and FRUITFUL!

We need to KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER and BE BETTER. It all starts with a renewed commitment to our wonderful Savior.