Praying For Others
Whenever we pray for you, we always begin by giving thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard how much you trust the Lord, and how much you love his people. (Colossians 1:3-4)
We should pray for others, even people we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, yet he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others.
After honoring God, we can request that others:
- understand God's will,
- gain spiritual wisdom,
- please and honor God,
- bear good fruit,
- grow in the knowledge of God,
- be filled with God's strength,
- have great endurance and patience,
- stay full of Christ's joy, and
- give thanks always.
All believers have these same basic needs. We should pray that these needs be met for them.
Why We Should Pray For Wisdom For Ourselves and Others
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
No matter how much we know or think we know, we often miss the mark. In the above scripture, Paul says he never stopped praying for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God's will. He didn't pray so they could become great preachers or teachers to attract large followings. He prayed so they could have spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk worthy of the Lord and fully please Him.
This is an important lesson for us. God does not reveal His will to us in order to give us importance. Rather God shows us His will for two reasons:
1. To walk worthy of the Lord;
2. To fully please Him in all that we do.
Don't assume someone is praying that you will have spiritual wisdom and understanding. Pray that prayer for yourself so that you may be fruitful in every good work.
God's Liquid Eraser
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Colossians 1:20)
When you make a mistake while using a pencil, you turn the pencil upside down and erase the mistake. You will then have a clean space to continue writing. To correct a mistake while typing on a manual typewriter, you backspace, use correction paper to eliminate the mistake, and then you start over. The same principle exists when you use liquid correction fluid. At one time it only came in white and was called White-Out; now the correction fluid comes in all colors. An even more modern technique on a computer is to simply backspace, delete and begin typing again.
When we make mistakes in life, there is a way to erase the mistake and make a clean start. What can wash away our sins and make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. His blood is God's liquid eraser that wipes out all sins and gives us a clean slate to start over and to continue to live for Jesus.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
We believe God is Almighty. We believe God is all powerful. We believe God can do all things. We believe these truths about God, but the fallacy lies in the fact that we doubt God can do things through us. At the burning bush, Moses did not doubt God. He doubted his own abilities. (Exodus 3) Such is the case with us. We know God is at work in the world, but we fail to realize that God is at work in each of us to help us complete a mission earmarked just for us.
God created the fish for the water. The fish is in the water, and some water is in the fish. God created the bird for the air. While the bird is in the air, some air is in the bird. God created the plant for the dirt. The plant is in the dirt, and some dirt is in the plant. God created man for Himself. Man is in God and God is in man. That's an inward fusion. An inward fusion simply means we are joined to the Lord in one spirit. We have a mind, but we also have the mind of Christ.
Just as the fish relies on the water for its sustenance, the bird relies on the air for its existence, the plant relies on the dirt for its nourishment, we MUST rely on what has been inwardly infused in us . . . God Almighty! Praise God for His inward fusion which is Christ IN US . . . that's our hope of glory!
We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
Christ's message is for EVERYONE. Everywhere Paul went he proclaimed the good news of the saving power of Christ Jesus. Paul used two effective methods of presenting Jesus to others.
- He admonished them by inviting, pleading, encouraging, and warning them to accept Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior
- He taught them that salvation is available through faith in Christ.
The above scripture is
the mandate for every Christian. We should proclaim Jesus and Him crucified
. As Christ
ians, it should be natural for us to admonish everyone we meet, and teach all that we know about Jesus so that we may bring everyone up to full maturity in Christ. By admonishing and teaching others, everyone will know that the Christ in us is our hope of glory.
Just As You Were Taught
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)
Sometimes when you call people into accountability for something, the first thing they say is, "No one taught us." We are so quick to blame others for the things we do wrong. We should acknowledge that we have indeed been taught. However, we choose to do things our own way.
Paul brings back to the memory of the Colossians that they had done what was necessary for them to abound in thanksgiving . . . They had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Paul admonished them to continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith. This was easy for the Colossians to do because they had been taught well by Paul himself.
To live a life worthy of the God you serve, do those things just as you were taught by your parents, grandparents, godly leaders and other Christians. Then you, too, will be able to abound in thanksgiving.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2)
When people are depressed, they shop. The greater the depression, the bigger the purchase. That's the world's way of dealing with an empty heart and a tormented spirit. If you want to feel better quicker and get greater dividends, set your affection on things above by inve
sting in spiritual things. How many cars can you drive at one time? How many pairs of shoes can you wear at one time? These are outward things that soothe you only temporarily. Clothes go out of style and y
ou outgrow them. Material things break, tear, rust, rot or fall apart. They can be eaten up by moths or stolen by thieves. They eventually become useless. (Matthew 6:20) Why not invest in something that will last? Invest in the Kingdom of God.
Make deposits into the Bank of Heaven and see how quickly your returns will come. They don't depend on the stock market. You don't have to be an investment banker to know that God always adds to your investment. He never subtracts from it. God always multiplies your investment. He never divides it. So why wouldn't anyone be willing to invest in a bank like that?
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) "For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you." (Leviticus 26:9
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
Focusing refers to several things:
- setting your mind on what God wants rather than giving in to what the flesh wants;
- setting our minds on long-term rewards and not instant gratification; and
- concentrating on others in place of self
It is like teaching your children to save their money for later, for something that is bigger. We must set our minds on and wait for the bigger, more rewarding and everlasting things above. Those who wait upon the Lord will soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). Why? Because they are setting their hearts on things above. They are putting God first. They are focusing upon and waiting for the most important things of the Spirit and forgetting about things that satisfy the flesh instantly.
The Only Sure Investment
Set your affections on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2)
These days people invest in everything imaginable
hoping to quickly accumulate extra money. When they invest, they usually don't
consider the risk factor. Anything you invest in on this earth is a definite risk. There is only one investment that is NOT risky business.
y sure investment is Jesus Christ. So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on temporal things on this earth; for they will all pass away.
The only sure investment is a life dedicated to Jesus Christ. Take the advice that Paul gave the Church at Colosse: "Set your affections on things that are above."
Time and Money
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2)
How do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? There is a simple test you can take to see how your time and money are spent. This test will indicate without a doubt whether you are setting your affection
on things above or on things on the earth.
Are your ready for this test? It is simple. You need only two things: your date book and your checkbook. Let's start with your date book or calendar first. Loo
k at your entries for the last 30 days and determine how you have spent your time. Was the majority of you
r time spent building up God's or Satan's kingdom? During the last 30 days was your affection on ways to do more for God or for the enemy of God?
Now, let's look at your checkbook for the last 30 days. Are tithes and offerings listed? How about money to the homeless and needy? Gas for visiting the sick or those in prison? Seeds sown in ministries that help you to grow spiritually? What does your checkbook reveal about your affection?
After taking this simple test, if you are not pleased with the results, you can change your spending pattern. Work toward making chan
ges to give more time and money back to God. After all, God is the One who gives you time. God is the One who gives you money. Spend both to glorify Him!
The Real Deal About Kindness
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and clearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Kindness is defined as charitable action and behavior to others. God expects us to be kind to others if we intend to please Him.
Showing undeserved kindness imitates God's character. When we show kindness to others, we are copying God's behavior and doing what Jesus would do. People are the only instruments through which we can show kindness to God.
Genuine kindness is our response to God's love. We can't say we love God and mistreat what has been made in His own image. Speaking gently to people, avoid hurting people's feeling, and taking a sincere interest in their welfare are indicators that we love God.
Being kind to people is being obedient to God. God has commanded us throughout His word to be kind to others. When we are not kind to others, we are disobeying God. That's breaks our relationship with God. If you are not receiving all the benefits from God that you expect, it might not be that are you not loving and serving God. It just might be that you are not loving and kind to God's people.
Being kind to others is a fruit of the Spirit. We can say we are kind; yet do nothing about it. Our kindness to others should show through our actions. Kindness is what God expects from us. The reciprocal factor is that when we are kind to others, others will be kind to us.
Be kind to others today and everyday!
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, CLOTHE yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues PUT ON love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Being in public without clothes on is not only morally offensive, but it is a crime. You could end up
in jail like Pee Wee Herman a few years ago. It is embarrassing and humiliating to have been imprisoned for indecent exposure. Certainly you would not go to work, to school, to church, or even outside your house without clothes on. That would mean you are physically naked.
When we do not possess all the virtues Paul listed in the above scr
ipture, then we are spiritually naked. We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and fasten them all together with love. When we don't have these on at all times, it is indecent exposure. Look at yourself and all around you today. Including yourself, how many naked people do you see? If God were to imprison us all for indecent exposure, there would not be enough prisons to hold us. Let's cut down on the crime of indecent exposure and be spiritually as well as physically clothed.
Let The Word of Christ Dwell In You Richly
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:15, advises us to "rightly divide the word." That means cutting it, slicing it, dicing it, and carving it so that it fits properly into place just as the Old Testament sacrifices fitted properly on the altar after they were cut. A modern illustration of rightly dividing the word is like picking fish off the bones until no meat is left. To get the most out of your daily devotions and your Bible Study, learn to focus on EVERY word in the scripture because every word is important. To leave out any word is to get a different meaning from its original intent.
Treat the above scripture as a fish, and let's leave no meat on the bones. Feel free to use your imagination to choose your own fish: whiting, bass, mackerel, lake trout, catfish, butterfish, salmon. tuna, etc. Most people eat fish on Fridays, and since today is Friday, let's eat:
"Let" is the very first word in the above scripture. That means it is up to you; not God or someone else to do it. It is a command; an imperative to YOU. You should allow the word to dwell in you. So go ahead and give the word permission to live in your heart and mind.
"The word" is specific. Not just any word, but whose word? The word of Christ. Study what Christ said (specifically in the Gospels) and let the same word dwell in you richly. Unlike people's opinions, the word of Christ is powerful. Let the word of Christ dwell. "Dwell" means to reside; to take up residence; to abide, to stay, to live. Let the word of Christ dwell where? Let the word of Christ dwell in you. This command is to you and only you. Let the word of Christ dwell in you how? "Richly" is an adverb describing how the word is to dwell in you. The word richly connotes abundance and a generous allowance. The word in you should not be sparse, but plentiful. What is the proof that the word of Christ is living in your richly? There should be proof of the word of Christ dwelling in you richly as you teach (impart information) as you admonish one another (encourage, exhort). How? With all wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to walk circumspectly. It is being cognizant of all your surrounding at all times. The word of Christ should dwell in you richly in all wisdom; not just some wisdom. How should you lift up others? Don't try to do it with gossip, false flattery, or talking about what's goes on at your church. You admonish as you sing psalms (praises to God), hymns (honoring God) and with spiritual songs (not songs of the world). How should you sing? With gratitude and thanksgiving. What should be the condition of your hearts? With hearts to the Lord!
Notice the scripture started out with a command for YOU to let the word dwell in you richly. When the word of Christ dwells in you richly, you are able to teach, admonish and sing to OTHERS. Then your heart and their hearts will turn toward God. Notice the "s" on hearts. It is so easy to get others to turn their hearts toward God when you "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."
If you would pick every scripture apart in this manner, you would soon enjoy reading and studying the Bible just as much as you enjoy eating fish!
Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters. (Colossians 3:23)
Everything we do for Christ ought to be done with enthusiasm. Since the creation, God has given us work to do. If we could regard our work as an act of worship or service to God, such an attitude would take some of the drudgery and boredom out of it. In fact, working for Christ instead of a boss or a paycheck ought to bring a definite enthusiasm to our efforts. We could work without complaining or resentment if we would treat our job problems as the cost of discipleship.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed (work, job, task, assignment), do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
Have you ever wondered why certain people have particular jobs and can do them well? It takes a special anointing to be a fireman, doctor, gynecologist, dentist, lawyer, policeman, politician, singer, teacher, preacher, writer, administrator, office worker, postal employee, waiter, bus driver, school crossing guard, caregiver or homemaker. Everyone is not anointed to do what others do with ease and even have fun and make a living doing it. You might think it strange that someone could have the discipline to write and send to date 627 E-Messages all over the country. Well, that's an anointed assignment. God has given us all a special anointing to do our jobs well. If your job is a struggle, take inventory to ascertain if you have a special anointing for it.
How to know you have an anointed assignment:
- You look forward to doing your job.
- You don't complain about what you do.
- You bring enthusiasm and excitement to your job.
- You embrace what you do and you do it well.
- You take initiative and go the extra mile.
- You would do it even if you didn't get paid.
You do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God for allowing you to do it (Colossians 3:17).
Seasoned With Salt
Let your speech always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)
What we believe is reflected in what we say. People are listening to us even when we are not aware of it. Therefore, we should be mindful of what we say and how we say it. It is especially important to be wise in our speaking to non-Christians. They are watching and listening for us to make one little slip so they can say, "I knew there was nothing to that religious stuff."
We should make the most of any opportunity to tell them the good news about the saving power of Jesus Christ and to show it through our lifestyle. When we tell others about Jesus, it is important always to be gracious in what we say. No matter how much sense the message makes, we lose our effectiveness if we are not courteous. Just as we like to be respected, we must respect others if we want them to listen to what we have to say.
"Seasoned with salt" means that what we say should be "tasty" enough to encourage further dialogue. Are you making the most of every opportunity to tell others about Jesus Christ? And are your conversations full of grace? And are your words seasoned with salt?