Lesson 27


Paul's Letter to the Colossians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; 4:3 praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; 4:4 that I may reveal it as I ought to speak. 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.


Today's Lesson 

In this final chapter of Paul's Letter to the Collosians, he reminds them of some general principals that are similar to advice that he gives to all of his churches. He has, apparently, dealt with whatever issues that precipitated this letter. He has reminded them throughout the short epistle of the central place in our lives that can only be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus all things were created and all things hold together. The very purpose of creation was to reveal the nature of the Son of God. As Paul nears his conclusion, he deals with two issues: prayer and our behavior toward outsiders.

 

"Continue steadfast in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; praying together for us also…" Paul reminds the Colossians that a life that is centered on Jesus Christ will be a life that is filled with prayer. In the written gospels that we have, prayer played a significant role in the life and ministry of Jesus. If the same Christ that prayed in the garden and the same Christ that prayed before the tomb of Lazarus is within us, we will be motivated to pray as well. Jesus never hesitated to pray and seemed to set aside special times when He could be alone for prayer.

 

Prayer means different things to different people, though. If you examine the way that twenty Christians pray you will probably see twenty different ways of praying. Prayer seems to be as unique as each one of us, and perhaps that is God's purpose for prayer. Prayer is, at is most basic root, communication between two people. We speak to God on the faith assumption that God is listening and is concerned with what we say. And there is every reason to believe that God not only cares, but also is insistent that we pray. The Spirit of God inside us is constantly motivating us to express praise and gratitude to God. Prayer can also be the expression of frustration, doubt and resistance. Unless we honestly speak with God, we will never truly know Him as Father.

 

Paul believed so much in the power of prayer that he is always asking people to pray for him and his ministry. In every letter, you will find something that Paul tells them he is praying about for them and asking them to pray for him about something specific. Specificity is essential in prayer. Our relationship with God must not become as superficial as, "How are you doing today? Fine, and you?" God is concerned with the knitty-gritty details of life. He wants to know all of your concerns and triumphs.

 

Paul is not only concerned about how we should talk to God, but with how we should talk with outsiders as well. He reminds them that the time is short, to use it wisely. "Let your speech always be with grace…" Being gracious with people models the behavior of Christ to the world. When we read the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, another thing that will jump out is the way that Jesus treated the foreigner or stranger. Jesus' response to unbelievers was always gracious. To those who professed to be righteous He could be down right caustic, but to those who had no real knowledge of God He was always patient and kind.

 

Paul not only tells them to let their speech be gracious, but for it to be "seasoned with salt." Our lives and our speech should be flavorful. If you read the lives of the people who God led, their lives were never dull. Those who live closest to God live closest to the flame. God shakes your life up and moves you in directions you never intended to go in the first place. When God is in control of your life, you will never be bored with inactivity.

 

What has God had you praying about lately? And, who is one person that you know outside of Christ to whom you need to speak more graciously?

 

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