Pride can sometimes keep us from asking others to pray for us. We want to project the appearance that everything is going great in our lives. Paul…who some consider a super-Christian…was not ashamed to ask for prayer. If an apostle the stature of Paul will ask for prayer, shouldn’t we follow his example?
Notice that Paul, writing from prison, does not ask that God would get him out of prison. (Often, our first prayer is for our own comfort and protection.) Paul asks that a door for the word will be opened. His first priority is for his ministry of the gospel. We have seen this in modern days in nations where the church is under great persecution. Believers who are imprisoned for their faith will endure torture and isolation and yet, see a great harvest for the gospel within the prison walls. We are challenged by this selfless display of courage that first and foremost desires to see others come to a saving relationship with Christ! What is your first prayer?
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.”
It’s not uncommon for one to think of Jesus’s “fishers of men” phrase in terms of the dangling of bait and the hauling in of the prized catch. But one might also understandably recoil at the thought of baiting, or—to update the angling metaphor—“reeling in” a person. It seems more plausible that, rather than to the nabbing of unsuspecting prey, Jesus was referring to the traits of his disciples’ profession: patience, an understanding of habits and movements and times and seasons, a tolerance for unfruitful days, a respect for habitat, a willingness to learn from mentors, a comprehension of what threatens the work. Jesus leveraged these qualities to ensure that evangelism treasured people as people. Paul’s words teach us to do no less.
Take this week’s passage in addition to chapter three and consider the weight of these words. How can we adequately treat others the way God intends for us to if we are not seeking guidance, strength, and forgiveness from the Lord? The necessity to pray cannot be overstated. Paul recognizes that all the he has written to the Colossian church is dependent upon an active and vibrant prayer life. Want to treat your spouse better? Pray more. Want to treat your children with more grace? Pray more. Do you need assistance in the way you handle work relationships? Pray more.
Paul is not giving a formula for success, but a foundation to build your faith journey upon.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Colossians 4:2-6 in our Fall Sermon Series: “Fullness of Christ” a study of Colossians.
This passage is full of commands from God. You can hear the doubters coming out, we have all heard them, “More rules. The Bible is just a list of dos and don’ts.” But pay close attention to the sentence structure. There is a modifier giving explanation and further instruction to every command. These modifiers take the command, which out of context could seem rash or harsh, and show us God’s true intention; everything we do is to be done as for the Lord. When we allow this aspect of the command to become the most important part, God begins to put modifiers on our lives. We begin to follow the commands He set forth, but not in order to simply follow the rules, but because putting God at the forefront of everything we do makes our lives look more like His.
We struggle with these verses because we see them through an old-world lens of power and place, or weak and strong. That’s not what Paul had in mind when writing them.
Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be great must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26)
Jesus would upend social norms, much like he turned tables in the temple. The temple wasn’t made to be a marketplace, nor relationships a power struggle, everyone vying for the next wrung up the ladder.
Jesus exchanges power with purpose (0r calling), and struggle with service. That’s what redeemed marriages look like. Both husband and wife fulfilling a divine calling, both sacrificially loving the other, outdoing each other with honor (Romans 12:10).
Perhaps, that’s what oneness looks like. Perhaps, that’s what great marriages look like.
One of the questions I would frequently ask teenagers as we talked about the scriptures and Christian faith was, “If I asked those closest to you to describe your faith, what would they say?”Paul often points to our closest relationships (especially marriage and families) as a litmus for genuine and practical evidence of Christian faith.So, to ask the question again in this context, “How would your family members describe your faith in Christ?”Our faith must permeate all our relationships leaving especially those closest to us with no doubt about the presence and power of the Lord. Our faith not only shapes the way we initiate love and care in our relationships, it also is reflected to the way we respond to that same kind of love and care.
How do you work when nobody is watching? Maybe you are disgruntled with your employer…or you feel like you are in a dead end job…or you believe that your co-workers have it much better…or your job does not meet up to your dreams. A lot of factors can influence your attitude toward your work and your performance and diligence in getting the job done.
Paul wrote to the Colossians, reminding them that the object of their work was the Lord. When no one else recognizes or appreciates the job you do, God does. Our diligence is an act of obedience and may bear fruitful rewards in the future that we cannot possibly foresee. Maximum effort in whatever we do is about our relationship with the Lord rather than the circumstances of our surroundings. Will we choose to obey and honor the Lord or will we offer less than our best because we feel we have been slighted in some way? It is your choice!
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters.”
Brought to you by the Bible, home of “Put to death men and women, children and infants”(1 Samuel 15:3), and “Show them no mercy” (Deuteronomy 7:2), among others. Will we ignore these words? Suppress them? Contextualize them? Think about this: Every children’s Bible you’ve ever seen in the hands of innocent little ones contains these verses. I know. Sobering. You’d think that if the Bible is supposed to reveal to us what’s right, it wouldn’t contain these problematic passages that people point to as reasons they distrust it. But the Bible isn’t just the story of God, it’s the story of God among us. And we change very slowly. Eventually, “Slaughter only in war” becomes “don’t slaughter.” “Mind your masters” becomes “submit to one another.” The Bible will leaven our hearts.
…knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. 4:1b
I have a confession. I really enjoy English period dramas. There, I’ve said it, now you can form whatever opinions of me that you like. I am a fan of English music, architecture, history, and literature. So it will come as no surprise to you that we watch Downton Abbey quite a bit in our home. Throughout the series there is a clearly defined boundary between upstairs and downstairs. Much of the series is about pushing these boundaries, or at least testing their limits, but they exist nonetheless. The truth is, however, that even those who lived upstairs, the aristocracy, were bound by the rules and conventions as well. No one was completely without some sort of rules for living.
Our freedom comes from serving others, but truly from serving Christ. We are only free in light of his authority. This must be the catalyst for how we comport every relationship, every business, every institution if we are to accurately claim to be followers of Christ. We must treat others as if we are clearly under his authority.