blog

Meanwhile Praying For Us: Colossians 4:3-4


“meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3-4 

The life of a Christian worker is not a safe, cushy life. No, it’s quite the opposite. We don’t seem to market it that way. Even I thought it would be like Disneyland – “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

As a Christian for over 20 years, having served in several ministries since 1996, I have suffered in every way save physical harm. Many overseas missionaries face threats to their health, belongings, and even their lives.

One of the things we should pray for is that the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit prospers.

Pray that God Would Open a Door

Not everyone’s heart is open. In Acts it says that God opened the heart of Lydia. In Ephesians Paul prays that the “eyes of our hearts would be enlightened.” (Eph 1:18)

“Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”  Acts 16:14

Continue reading Meanwhile Praying For Us: Colossians 4:3-4

Continue Earnestly In Prayer: Colossians 4:2

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving

 Colossians 4:2 

Do you wonder why Paul has to tell the church (us) to continue earnestly in prayer? Why do we have to be vigilant?

Jesus even had to explain that we always should pray and not give up because even an unjust judge will give into persistence. (Luke 18:1-8)

Firstly, all of the things requested of us in previous chapters (loving one another, submitting to authority, being just to one another, etc.) can only happen by a supernatural enabling by the Holy Spirit. That only comes by prayer. It’s very important that we rely on Him even to obey.

“…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” Acts 17:28

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Secondly, we need to be thankful. Thankfulness is a key part of our relationship with Christ and helps our perspective remain true.

 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

If we know in our minds that we need to rely upon Him, then why do we fail in practice? This is the vigilance that is lacking. We need to be aware.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

We are quick to give up. I believe it’s because we question our worthiness, waiver in our faith, and get discouraged.

Questioning the Right

It’s hard to be persistent if you question whether or not you have a right to your request. But we know that since the veil was torn top to bottom at the death on the cross, all men and women who accept Jesus have the right to be in the Holy of Holies. Continue reading Continue Earnestly In Prayer: Colossians 4:2

Just and Fair: Colossians 4:1

Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. 

Colossians 4:1

Just and fair.

With God we don’t want justice and fairness because it means we would receive punishment for sin. This is the Good News, that Christ died in our place. We get grace and mercy instead of justice and fairness. It’s a good deal on our end.

But among us, as we deal with one another, God always asks us to be just and fair. There are many proverbs dedicated to this very truth. We know that God defends the defenseless.

Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight. Proverbs 11:11

Continue reading Just and Fair: Colossians 4:1

We’re All Under Authority: Colossians 3:18-25

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. ~ Colossians 3:18-25

Ah. The family order. Some resent this passage and others see the freedom that lies within it. I’ve been on both sides.

In fact, I have been a child, am a wife, and currently am also a bondservant (modern day worker).

This world has order in it. Why do we presume any authority is bad or for our harm?

In fact, though I enjoy being spontaneous, it is order that gives me comfort and freedom. How so? If you make plans, then you are prepared – prepared enough to deviate. Those plans could be around an event, financial, or chore-related. Planning and spontaneity are not mutually exclusive just like love and submission are not.

Wives

Submit is a hard word for many women these days to stomach, yet utter and apply. Women often picture some outlandish “Stepford Wife” scenario or think of cultish behavior. (My standard disclaimer about physical abuse goes here. Run away. Call the police. Go to a women’s shelter.)

I was married at 20. Did I mention I was a feminist? Yes, some of that extreme thinking has had to be moderated a bit. I’ve written frequently about marriage from my perspective.

Though I am a strong woman, a leader in many areas, I have learned to submit to my husband and guess what? He supports me 100%. Dare I say he encourages me to become even more of a leader? I am proud that he spurs me on to love and good deeds. I have him read every one of these posts before I publish.

I’d also like to point out the word “own.” It says to submit to your “own husband.” By pure logic, you can surmise that women aren’t generically to submit to men, just their “own husband.”

Husbands / Fathers

“Love and do not be bitter.” Wow. That’s a heart issue and is a much greater challenge than submission. What a telling thing it is that husbands have to be commanded to love their wives. This love is action-based, not feeling based. Look at the actions described in 1 Cor 13 below:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians  13:4-7

Fathers are also told not to provoke their children. Have you seen provocative behavior? Harsh or unfair treatment? Unrealistic expectations? Withholding of affection or words of love and encouragement? I can see all of that as discouraging behavior. Continue reading We’re All Under Authority: Colossians 3:18-25

Whatever You Do: Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. ~ Colossians 3:17

Whatever. It’s a dismissive word when used as a response to correction. Teenagers are famous for saying it. In this context, however, especially since it follows the word “and,” we need to refer to the previous verse.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:16

Ah. So then we know what proceeds Paul’s advice to the church – the richly dwelling word of God and singing that naturally overflows.

We could replace the word “and” with “so.”

“singing with grace to the Lord so whatever you do…”

Since, you’ve allowed the Word to take up your thoughts and change how you talk with one another, also allow this to effect whatever else you do.

Whatever You Do

This is my favorite down-to-earth verse because it helps me as an employee. Many people believe that “the ministry” is when you’re paid by the church as a full-time job (been there, done that). That makes it very easy to serve the Lord in whatever you’re doing. It’s like asking you to be happy in Disneyland. Continue reading Whatever You Do: Colossians 3:17

Let the Word Dwell: Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Colossians 3:16

The Christian life is often likened to a race, a marathon of sorts. But reading the Bible shouldn’t be. We’re often obsessed with reading plans and deadlines. Check. Check. Check! I read my (verse, chapter, book) quota today. Off with the rest of my tasks!

My challenge in this post, and with them all, is for you (us) to consider the word usage and placement and meaning. This is the inductive study method. Observe, interpret, apply. Repeat.

Straightaway in this passage I notice the verbs: dwell, teaching, admonishing, singing. In many ways this outlines a progression or the natural result of allowing the Word to affect your life.

Let the Word Dwell

The word, “let” is a verb that means to allow. This implies that you, as the believer, have a choice regarding this command. You should let the Word dwell in you. Make the choice. Allow it to dwell.

Dwell means to reside or occupy. To allow the Word of God to occupy “you” means to let it be the sole tenant in your very being – in your soul – in your heart. Let the word occupy your heart. The Word gives life to our conscience.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 

See, without the Word occupying our being, our conscience can become dull. A dull conscience is what leads to us not putting off the old man, not putting on Christ.

But wait; there’s more. Continue reading Let the Word Dwell: Colossians 3:16

Put on Love: Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 

Colossians 3:12-15

In virtually every wedding ceremony, we hear the list of love from 1 Corinthians 13 and many of us have heard sermons where we are told the word “love” can be replaced with the name “Jesus” as He is the only one who has perfectly demonstrated those virtues.

Peace and love go hand in hand. Allowing the peace of God to rule in your hearts is conditioned upon putting on love. Many times, believers say they have peace with God yet harbor jealousy, bitterness, and unforgiveness. This letter to the church of Colosee sets out to put the record straight.

It is important for us to read the word of God (some people like reading plans) in the whole. I prefer to read books (I recently did Proverbs and am now in Psalms) in different translations because I find my brain skips over things “I know” when I only read the translation (NKJV) that I’m most familiar with. The Word is effective to work in you to transform you with your belief.

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Just as, by an act of your will, you have to put off the former things, believers have to put on the Christ things. It’s true that living by a checklist doesn’t work, but as you think about who Christ is and when you allow the Word of God to do its work in you, your very nature will change. Continue reading Put on Love: Colossians 3:12-15