In today’s passage we hear again from the Apostle Paul as he addresses the Church in Colossae in his 4th and final letter to them. In the first 3 letters he spoke about the redemption of Christ in and through their lives, as believers. Now, in this letter he encourages them to pick up their own cross and become responsible in sharing the Gospel. Paul points out three specific areas that are crucial for them, and us, as the Gospel is shared and specifically with unbelievers: How we Pray, How we Live, and How we Speak.
Colossians 4:2-6 (NLV)
Some Things to Do
2 You must keep praying. Keep watching! Be thankful always. 3 As you pray, be sure to pray for us also. Pray that God will open the door for us to preach the Word. We want to tell the secret of Christ. And this is the reason I am in prison. 4 Pray that I will be able to preach so everyone can understand. This is the way I should speak. 5 Be wise in the way you live around those who are not Christians. Make good use of your time. 6 Speak with them in such a way they will want to listen to you. Do not let your talk sound foolish. Know how to give the right answer to anyone.
How we Pray: Paul tells us to continually pray, to be thankful in prayer, and while in prayer to keep watch for the day of the Lord’s return. He also asks for prayers for “us”, and we see this request many times throughout the Gospels. In Luke 11 Jesus teaches us about prayer and how to pray. Within that passage is the Lord’s Prayer, and “us” is mentioned several times: “Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (v.3-4) We must be in prayer for one another all of the time.
How we Live: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14) Paul understood this Truth and thus he cautions us to be wise when around unbelievers, to make good use of our time when with them, and to not be foolish. We love the Lord, and thus our lives should be examples of love, the kind that everyone wants to learn about and ultimately share.
How we Speak: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37). The Bible contains approximately 397 verses which speak about the mouth, and the actual word “mouth” is mentioned in scripture about 442 times. If that doesn’t tell you how critical our words are to the Lord, I don’t know what will. Paul reminds us to speak in a way that unbelievers will want to listen. Just because you know the Gospel message doesn’t mean others do, and it certainly doesn’t mean you are better than them. It means you are called to lovingly share the love of the Lord with them. Jesus never forced himself on anyone, he lovingly met them where they found themselves, and as they were willing to follow Him, He extended His hand to bring them along. He tasks us with the same call on our lives, each, and everyday.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for prayer, for welcoming me into Your presence at any place and time. Please help me to be more vigilant in prayer, for myself, for other, and for all of Your creation. Please continue to guide me with Your wisdom. I want my life to reflect You all of the time. Help me Lord to be quick to listen and slow to respond. I pray for my words to be bathed in Your love before they escape my mouth. Lead me in places where I can share Your love with those who do not know You or those who are lost and need to reconnect with You. I ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written By: Jen Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant