Steadfast and Watchful
Colossians 4:2 ESV
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Pray without ceasing, the Bible tells us (1 Thess. 5:17). We are to be constant in prayer, it says (Rom. 12:12). And, we are to pray at all times in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).
So, is that even possible? How can we pray continually without ceasing?
What is prayer? It is communication with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is not only us voicing to him our requests, and us giving him our praise, adoration, and thanksgiving, and it is not only us confessing our sins to him, but it is two-way communication.
It is a lot like having a telephone conversation with a person. You can’t see him, but you can hear him, and he hears you. But we never hang up the phone. The line is always open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for whenever we want to talk with him or him with us.
So, prayer to God is not just something we do at set times of day, but it is open communication with him all the time. He is in our minds, and we hear him speaking to us, and we can talk with him anytime, as well, even if it is just one word “Help!”
And, we are to be watchful in our prayer, sensitive always to the voice of the Holy Spirit, listening always for his guidance and his nudgings. We are to be watchful in the sense of discerning of the voices in our heads, too. For Satan whispers in our ears, too, and our flesh speaks, and words we have heard others say will resound sometimes in our minds, as well.
An Open Door
Colossians 4:3-4 ESV
“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
For those of us who are out there on the front lines sharing the truths of God’s word day after day, even in the face of opposition, we need prayer.
For, Satan is deceiving the minds of the people of this world by the thousands, day after day after day. And, Satan is coming against those of us who are proclaiming the truth of the gospel, too, because he wants to shut us up. He wants to silence us. He wants us to get discouraged and to give up. He wants to trip us up with our words. For, he wants to stop us from telling the truth, and he especially wants to stop us from exposing his lies.
So, we need prayer. We need prayer for open doors to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not just a message about how to “get saved.” But it is a message about how to die to sin daily and how to live for the Lord daily. For our salvation is ongoing throughout our Christian lives, and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns for us and takes us home (Heb. 9:28).
We need prayer, too, that we will make the word of God clear, for there are many liars and deceivers out there who are twisting the Scriptures to their advantage, and who giving people a false picture of our salvation from sin. For, what they are teaching is a cheap grace which requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ and no submission to his lordship.
So, we need to refute their lies, for they are leading many people straight to hell while promising them heaven. We need clarity of mind and heart in presenting the truth in opposition to the lies. And, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in what we speak so that it is not our flesh speaking, but so it is the Spirit of God speaking through us for his glory and praise.
The Best Use
Colossians 4:5-6 ESV
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Who is an outsider? It isn’t just someone who openly rejects Jesus Christ as Savior of his life. An outsider can be a person who professes faith in Jesus Christ, too, but who is living outside of God’s will for his life. He can be an adulterous believer in Jesus, who has wandered off, or he can be a nominal (in name only) believer in Jesus who doesn’t really know the Lord at all.
We need to walk in wisdom toward all outsiders. We need spiritual discernment in what to say and what not to say to them. And, we need to be living holy lives before them so that we are not being hypocritical in what we profess.
But this does not mean we will be totally without error, or that we will never have a wrong thought or attitude or that our speech will always be perfect. For, we still live in flesh bodies, and we are in the process of being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, and he isn’t finished with us yet.
But this is never to be used as an excuse for living in habitual, willful, and often premeditated sin against God. Lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse to indulge in the sinful nature and to live to gratify the sinful desires of our flesh. We are all to walk in holiness and purity, and to live lives which are above reproach.
Another way in which we walk in wisdom toward outsiders is that we make the best use of the time that we have with them, but with all people, really. For, we don’t know but that someone may pass through our lives only once and that one time may be our only opportunity to share Christ with him or with her.
So, we need to ask the Lord to give us the words to say to outsiders. And, we need to be willing to say whatever he gives us when the opportunity presents itself. We need to not shy away from speaking whatever it is our Lord gives us to say, or shy away from doing whatever it is he leads us to do.
Grace and Salt
Nonetheless, letting our speech be gracious does not mean that we dilute the truth so as not to offend anyone. For, what does God’s grace teach us? It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14).
And, what is God’s grace to us? It is that Jesus died on that cross that we might be crucified with him in death to sin, that we may be changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we might live new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).
So, if we are going to be gracious in our speech, we are going to tell people the truth which will set them free from their slavery to sin, and which will give them true hope of eternal life with God. And, we will not lie to them just to make them feel good about themselves while they are headed straight to hell.
And, if we season our speech with salt, well salt is a preservative for the purpose of keeping our food fresh and tasteful, too. And, our food is the Word of Life. So, we are to preserve it, to keep it fresh in our minds and hearts, and we are not to dilute it and to make it tasteless.
So, we speak the truth in love. We don’t hide the truth from people. But we give to them the unadulterated Word of God in its purity. For, only the truth is going to set people free from their slavery to sin. Lies keep them bound in sin.
So, how are we to answer every person? With the truth. But this doesn’t mean we get nasty or hateful or that we are curt and disrespectful. We speak the truth in love, with kindness, but we don’t dilute it. And, sometimes we must speak boldly and assuredly in order to dispel the lies and in order to proclaim the truth with full confidence, because many people are being led astray. But we need to let the Holy Spirit speak through us.
In all that we do, and in all that we say, we need to let our Lord lead us and guide us. Again, this is not saying we will always be perfect in everything that we say, but that we should strive towards this in the Spirit of God so that we do not hinder the cause of Christ by careless words spoken in our flesh.
Daily we need to die to that flesh and put on Christ and his righteousness and walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the desires of our flesh. We need to remain constant in prayer so that we never hang up on God, but we keep that line of communication always open. Then, we need to listen to him when he speaks, and then obey what he says to do.
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
*Caution: This link may contain ads