Devoted to Prayer
Colossians 4:2-4 NASB
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
What is prayer for the Christian? Basically, it is communion with God. It is intimacy with our Lord, with whom we are in relationship. It is a time when we share with our Lord our most intimate thoughts and feelings, when we cast our cares upon him, and we lay our burdens at his feet. But, it is also a time in which we also listen to him speak his words to our hearts, and we respond to what he is saying to us, so it is two-way communication.
In prayer to our Lord, we offer up words of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to Him for all that he has done and continues to do for us, his followers. We also confess any known sins, agreeing with God regarding the sins and what needs to be done to correct them, i.e. what needs to be done for us to change so that we don’t continue in them. And, in prayer, we respond to what our Lord says, in obedience to him, to follow his ways, and to reject the lies, and to throw off whatever hinders our walks with him.
Our relationship with our Lord is like a marriage. He is the husband, and we are the bride, whether we are male or female. So, we can think of prayer much like our communications should be with our spouses, only he is with us all the time, because he is living within us, so we can talk with him and listen to him speak to our hearts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He even speaks to us in our sleep, at times, sometimes through our dreams.
In prayer, in our communications with our Lord, we also bring to him our requests. These requests may be for ourselves, or they may be for others, such as for other followers of Christ or for people we love who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But, to pray in the name of Jesus means to pray according to his divine character and will. He is not a genie in the sky there to grant our every selfish desire, in other words. In prayer, we should always submit to his purposes and ask for his guidance in even knowing what to pray.
But, if we want our words to be heard by God, and if we want him to answer our prayers, then we need to remain in him, and his words remain in us, for apart from him we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5-8). For, when we are walking in Him according to His Spirit and not according to our sinful flesh, then we will get to know him intimately, and we will know his will, and, thus, we will know how to pray according to his will, too. For, we will be likeminded with him, united in heart and purpose, so that his desires will be our desires.
When his desires are our desires, then we will pray for the things that matter to our Lord, such as we will pray for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ, and we will pray for even Christians to be delivered from addiction to sin, if they have fallen back into sin and need to be revived and restored back to fellowship with Jesus Christ. And, we will pray, too, for those who are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ for open doors for them to share the gospel so that many can hear, and so that many can be saved from their sins. And, we will pray that God will give them clarity in sharing, too.
Colossians 4:5 NASB
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.
I always think of wisdom as being applied knowledge. Knowledge can puff up if all it is is just head knowledge. But, if we apply what we know, in a good way, then that is wisdom, in my thinking, anyway. Wisdom, in other words, doesn’t just listen to what God says, but wisdom does what God says. Wisdom does not run ahead of God or lag behind, but it stays in step with our Lord, because it listens and it follows instructions.
Wisdom is also discernment and insight into situations. But to have the wisdom of God means we are in continual communion with him, listening to him, and doing what he says, so that we have his heart and mind about matters of importance, so that we make wise choices instead of unwise ones. We are often unwise when we are not listening to God, and we are going our own way, doing what we want, when we want to do it. Then, we can make some really bad choices.
So, if we are to conduct ourselves with wisdom towards those outside of faith in Christ, as well as towards our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially towards those who have fallen away from their pure devotion to Christ, then we need to remain connected to the Head of the church, who is Christ, our Lord. We need to be in continual communion with our Lord so that we are listening to him and to what he is showing us we must do and say, instead of us just going with the flow and joining in with the world.
If we are to make the most of every opportunity, then, again, we must be in continual fellowship with our Lord, with an ear attentive to what the Spirit is saying to us, so that we do with others and say to others what God wants us to do and say, instead of just doing or saying what is of the flesh, or what we think others might like or what might get us accepted by them. And, this requires that, when we do hear our Lord speak, that we stop and listen, and that we do what he says, even if it is not what is popular.
With Grace and Salt
Colossians 4:6 NASB
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
I know this can be interpreted in so many different ways, depending upon the person doing the interpreting. So, I would like to look at what these individual words mean so that we can get the big picture from it all.
Grace, for example, is God’s favor, his kindness towards us, which was shown to us in Jesus Christ’s, God the Son’s death on a cross for our sins, and in his resurrection back to life, victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on a cross, shedding his own blood for us, so that we could die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. This, in essence, is the picture of his grace and of the gospel of our salvation.
For, his grace to us was not merely to give us pardon for our sins so that we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. His kindness, his favor, his grace to us instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). He died to free us from our addictions to sin, not to pardon us so that we could continue in sinful practices guilt free (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, if our speech is to always be with grace, it should incorporate all that the word “grace” means, according to God’s grace, his favor and his kindness towards us, which was for our benefit. In other words, it is never kind to tell people lies to make them feel good about themselves. It is never kind to join in with the sins of others so that they feel we are one of them. But, it is kind to speak the truth in love, and to love others more than we love ourselves, being willing to be hated in order to give them the message of freedom from sin. So, we should follow Jesus’ example in this, for he led the way for us.
Regarding salt, from a spiritual perspective, since salt is used as a preservative to slow decay, salt is thus an element we add in our conversations with people to help preserve their lives from corruption and destruction; and from the evils of our society. “Salty” words should be pure (virtuous) and wholesome, and that which can be penetrating to the heart, as they should have God’s unique individual characteristic within them. In other words, they should reveal his divine character and will.
So, if our speech is always with grace, seasoned with salt, it should reflect the kinds of things Jesus spoke to people when he walked the face of this earth. It, too, should be full of love for others, denying ourselves, and considerate of what is in the best interest of others, for their ultimate good, for their best, which is that they know Jesus Christ, walk in his love and holiness, and that they live free from bondage to sin.
Your Grace Is Enough
Great is Your faithfulness oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart…
Great is Your love and justice God
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation…
Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 5:30 a.m. – May we, Lord, be your hands, feet and mouths in this world, continuing in your love and the work you began when you lived on this earth.