Live a life worthy of the Lord and . . . please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. (Col. 1:10)

I went to a youth speech contest. The kids did a great job, but obviously some did better than others. What surprised me was this after the first place child received her trophy she rushed to her father and asked, “Daddy, did I do good?” What surprised me even more was his response filled with minute criticisms. Her head dipped in a nod.

In the verse just before our passage, Paul wrote, “We have not stopped praying for you” (Col. 1:9). This little girl continually wanted her daddy’s advice and wisdom. But more than that I think she desired his love and approval. In that auditorium, it didn’t appear to me she received either one.

Our heavenly Father sent His Son to die for our sins. Verse 13 acknowledges we have been rescued from darkness through the power of His love. We are then blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in wisdom and truth. That is how we can begin to live a life worthy of the Lord. We seek His wisdom, but we also know we have His love. It is the combination of both that gives us the strength and the power. That makes all the difference.

If you offer advice today, remember to couch it in love just as God does with us.

Julie B. Cosgrove is a widowed Christian author and speaker who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is involved with women’s and outreach ministries.