Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21 - Colossians 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Colossians 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul stresses the importance of prayer. Prayer opens doors for the message of Christ to be heard.
  • Paul then encourages the Colossians to live wisely before non-believers. It is the way they live that will show people God, and ultimately bring them to Him.
  • Paul then closes his letter with several personal greetings, which was a very common practice. 
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Prayer is not something we should do occasionally when we feel like it. Prayer is an essential priority for a follower of Jesus. Imagine if you never spoke to your spouse or your kids or your loved ones. Imagine if you walked by them every day in the house but never said a word. They would think that's weird! The irony is that we would never really do that to our family, but we do it to God everyday. Paul encourages us to be mindful about prayer, to be devoted to prayer, and to keep our eyes open for things we should pray about and things we should be thankful for.
  • Paul wants everyone to know Jesus, so he asks the Colossians to pray that he'll have opportunities to share Him with others effectively. But it's not just Paul's responsibility, it's every Christian's responsibility. This is why Paul urges them to be very careful about how they live. He knew that people form opinions about Jesus by the actions of those who claim to follow Him. This is why we should always be careful how we live and how we speak to non-believers. Our words should be full of grace and kindness.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Having some time devoted to prayer each day is so important. But prayer doesn't have to be limited to that special "prayer time."
    • What if you also prayed in the morning in the shower? Maybe you could talk to him about your plans for the day. He just might have a different perspective for you. 
    • And what if you stole some time with God in the quiet of your car to and from work?  
    • And what about your evenings? Maybe a little less TV and a little more prayer?
    • Be creative in finding time alone with God. Use those "wasted moments" to connect with God, talking to him as much as possible. Devoting time to prayer this way is a natural, unforced way to get to know God's heart for you.
  • Do you "make the most of every opportunity" with people who are outside the faith? Are you careful about how you act and speak to them? Are your words gracious or argumentative? Are you kind or critical? Do you spend more time sharing your politics than your faith? Everything we do is setting an example for Jesus. Does your life represent Jesus well? Why or why not?  Take some time this week to consider how you talk to your co-workers and friends. Do they see Jesus in you? If not, pray for God's help. He will hear you and help you.