Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Colossians 4

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

Life can become very hectic and busy at times.  Sometimes our schedules can get so packed with activities that we feel as if our heads are spinning.  Spending time with the Lord in His Holy Word and in prayer, however, must be at the top of our list of things that we do each day.  Nothing spiritually worthwhile can be accomplished in our lives without the help of the Lord and without the power of prayer.  In Colossians 4:2 we are told to devote ourselves to prayer.  Not only should we set aside a special time each day for prayer and the reading our Bibles, but we need to have an attitude of prayer throughout the day.  We need to have a constant awareness of the Lord's presence with us each and every moment of the day.

We must never become weary of spending time in prayer in God's Word; but we must be passionate, steadfast, and watchful in our prayer lives.  We must never discontinue our prayer times with the Lord.  We must pray earnestly that we will grow in our personal relationship with the Lord.  We must pray earnestly that we will grow in our ability to reflect Jesus in our lives and that we will grow in practical holiness.

Colossians 4:5 tells us that we must also pray that we will "be wise" in the manner in which we act towards those who are not believers in the Lord Jesus.  We must "make the most of every opportunity" to let our lives shine for the Lord.  The only way we can do that is through the power of prayer.  Nothing worth while can be accomplished in Jesus' name without prayer.  In addition to this we may and must come to the Lord with all of our needs. The Lord welcomes us with His open arms and is willing to meet our every need.  Finally, we must also express our praise and thanks to the Lord through our prayers.

We must not only pray for ourselves, but we must also pray for others.  Little is known of Epaphras spoken of in Colossians 4:12.  He apparently was a servant of the Lord who had completely yielded his life to the Lord.  Epaphras also seemed to have been a man of prayer.  He was "always wrestling in prayer" for the Colossian Christians.  God had laid the Colossian Christians on his heart, and Epaphras considered it his joy and service to pray for them.  Epaphras prayed that they would "stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured."

We too can have a prayer ministry for others.  We like Epaphras can pray that those individuals on our prayer list will grow in spiritual maturity and that they will "stand firm in all the will of God."  We can pray for others when they are going through difficult times that they will be "fully assured" of God's precious promises to always be with them.

We need to pray about everything.  Are we or someone we know in need of healing?  We need to pray!  Are we or someone we know going through a time of physical or emotional pain?  We need to pray!  Are we or someone we know weighed down with past failure?  We need to pray!  Have we or someone we know sinned?  We need to pray! Is there some problem in our lives or in someone else's life that seems beyond human ability to remedy?  Take it to the Lord in prayer!  I Peter 3:12 says, "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their prayer."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Colossians 3

We as believers  in the Lord Jesus Christ have died to sin through Christ's death on the cross.  We have been transferred from Satan's kingdom to Christ's kingdom.  Our old sinful nature still tempts us to sin, however, and we need to do all we can to rid our lives of sin.  We can begin to do this by setting our "hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."  Colossians 3:1-2 goes on to tells us that we need to set our hearts and "minds on things above, not on earthly things."  We must remember that our citizenship is in heaven and not on earth.  Our lives on this earth are very brief and transitory in comparison to eternity.

Because we are united to the Lord, the living Christ, we are raised to a new life in Him.  Our new lives in Christ must be lived out in practical righteousness in our daily walk in this world.  We need to reflect Jesus  in our lives and in our actions and speech.  Our affections must be centered on the Lord and not on earthly things or earthly relationships.  We must never forget that our purpose for being on this earth is to bring glory and praise to our Lord.  For we died to sin through His death, and now our new lives in Christ are "hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3b)

When Christ returns someday we will be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever!  Because of this blessed certainty of being with the Lord forever and because we are "hidden with Christ in God," we can and must seek to rid our lives of whatever is sinful.  Colossians 3:5 tells us that we must "put to death" anything in our lives that belongs to our "earthly nature."  We must "put to death" anything that belongs to our unregenerate state before we knew Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Colossians 3:9-10 further reminds us that we must take off the "old self" of sin, evil desires, and self-absorption; and we must "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

As God's precious and chosen people Colossians 2:12 tells us we must clothe ourselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."  We must seek to be godly and holy in all areas of our lives.  We must seek to be patient with other people's faults and sins, and we must be forgiving.  The Lord forgives us of all our many sins. Therefore we need to be willing to forgive others for the sins that they commit against us.  The magnitude of our sins forgiven by the Lord far outweighs any wrong things others may commit against us.  Finally, Colossians 3:14 tells us "over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

We also need to allow Christ's peace to rule in our hearts and lives.  We were called to Christ's peace in our lives.  We can have peace with God, peace with each other, and peace in our souls.  We are able to experience peace no matter what is going on in our world around us, because His peace is not dependent on circumstances!  When the Lord rules in our lives and hearts we can have a peace that the world can not understand!  Peace and security is found only in Christ Jesus.  It is His gift to us, His children.

We further must have a thankful heart and a heart that is full of praise for the Lord.  Because of all He has done for us we must live our lives in gratitude to Him.  Colossians 3:17 tells us "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name if the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Whatever we do must be done for the glory of God.  Our love for the Lord must show in our relationships in our family, in our work, and in all areas of our lives.  Our love for the Lord must show in our thoughts, attitudes, and in our actions.

Colossians 3:24b says to us, "It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  We must be putting off our old sin natures and clothing ourselves in our new lives in Christ.  It must become our passion and joy to bring glory and praise to the Lord in all areas of our lives!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Colossians 2

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:6-7

It was Paul's heartfelt desire that all the Colossian believers and all believers in Christ Jesus everywhere would reflect Jesus in their lives.  Paul's desire was that they would practice their faith in their attitudes and actions.

According to Colossians 2:2 Paul's first desire was that Christians would "be encouraged in heart."  God does not want us to become discouraged in our walk and life lived for Him.  Life tends to have many obstacles and difficulties at times, but we belong to the Lord for time and for eternity.  Therefore, we need not become discouraged!  If we are daily spending time in God's Word and resting in His promises, we can "be encouraged in heart" no matter what our circumstances.  The secret to a joyful life according to Colossians 2:3 is resting in Christ Jesus "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  We must get our wisdom from the Lord through His Word.  The world's "wisdom" may often sound logical and good, but it will fail us every time.  The Lord's wisdom may be laughed at by the world, but His wisdom will never fail us!

It was also Paul's desire and is God's desire for us that we do not just receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior.  We must also grow in our faith.  We need to practice as well as possess our faith. In order to do this we need to grow in our personal love relationship with the Lord.  Colossians 2:6b-7 tells us that we need to "continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith."

We need to "live in Him."  We need to have an intimate, living, and spiritual relationship with the Lord.  Through this intimate spiritual union with Christ we need to be growing in our faith every day.  We also need to be "rooted" in Him.  Just like a plant can not grow well without deep roots, we too can not grow spiritually without being deeply rooted and foundationed in the Lord.  Just as a plant reaches down through its roots to the source of its needed supply of nutrients, so we need to find our source of strength in the Lord alone.  We need to be deeply "rooted" in the Lord.  One way we do this is by feeding on the Word of God.

We also need to be "built up" in Christ.  We need to be "built up" into Christ-likeness.  We must  increasingly be reflecting Christ-like attitudes and actions in our lives.  To be able to do this we must be "strengthened in the faith."  Jesus Christ must be our source of strength in all things.  We must not depend on human resources for our strength.  We must depend on the Lord alone.  Finally, Colossians 2:7b tells us that we need to be "overflowing with thankfulness" in our lives.

Jesus Christ is God Himself.  Colossians 2:9-10 says, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ."  In Christ you and I have been given everything we need for time and for eternity!  Our sins have been forgiven, and according to Colossians 2:12b we have been "raised with Him" through our faith "in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead."  We are alive in Christ and have a totally new life in Him!  Now we must seek to be truly living in Christ, rooted and foundationed in Him, and built up and strengthened in Him.  Our hearts must be overflowing with thankfulness to Him, and this thankfulness must show in our lives.  We must in thankfulness seek to live our lives for His glory!