Scripture Study

Digging into Colossians: Chapter Four

Ready to dig through this last chapter with me?

Let’s start by reading through chapter four here.

Three main points came to mind:

  • Prayer Changes Things
  • Live Wisely
  • Remember My Chains
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. 
Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 
Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. 
- Colossians 4:2-4 NLT

Prayer changes things. Do you believe it? Whether it’s our circumstances or our hearts, the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16).

Who is righteous? Only the one made new by the righteousness of Jesus Christ!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ Jesus, He is a new creation. Redeemed. Made righteous. The Holy Spirit dwells in such a person, giving them access to the glorious riches of God’s grace, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, with powerful and effective prayers.

Whoot! Can I get an Amen!

Paul encourages us to devote ourselves to prayer. He reminds us to be alert and to keep a thankful heart.

Remembering that our battles are in the spiritual realm and not against flesh and blood (read more about being properly prepared for the battle here), it makes sense to prioritize prayer in our days.

Do we live knowing that God is for us, not against us? Do we seek to honor Him? Desire to point others to Jesus?

We cannot do it on our own strength, only by His Spirit. We need to be devoted to prayer.

Paul reminds and encourages us to pray for the gospel message to be heard and received. He knows the power of the gospel. I’m hoping you and I know the power of it, because you can bet that the enemy knows the gospel’s power! He despises it and gives his all to destroy it, because its holy, victorious, and true.

Pray that it’s heard! Pray that it’s lived out in truth!

This brings us to the second point: Living Wisely.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. 
- Colossians 4:5-6 NLT

It’s easy to get distracted by the goings on around us, to fall prey to the pleasures that abound. We end up missing countless opportunities to be Light in the darkness when we are consumed with the shadows surrounding us.

And what are shadows, really? Well, a dark area that’s created when light is blocked by an opaque object. They’re an image of something that’s blocked the light from getting through.

It takes wisdom to see beyond the shadow, to get our focus back on the Light.

It takes wisdom to use words filled with grace when our emotions are so quickly activated.

But wisdom is vital.

The book of James tells us what wisdom from above looks like (James 3:17). Wisdom is promised for those that seek after it. When we ask for anything in God’s will it’s given to us. So if we feel lacking in wisdom, or in the strength to live it out, we need only ask. He is faithful to give us our daily bread in all its forms.

Finally, Paul closes his letter with the plea to remember his chains.

Um, why? That seems like an odd closing statement.  

But push past the peculiar and therein find the treasure. Why is it important to remember Paul’s chains? A few things come to mind:

  • So I don’t forget the persecution that comes from being in line with truth while sharing and living out the gospel.
    • But wait! No one goes looking and longing for persecution!
    • Jesus told us that if they hated Him they will hate us too (Matthew 10:21-26). We are blessed when we face persecution for His Name (Matthew 5:10-12), and all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
  • So I look beyond myself and my current circumstances to see the bigger picture of God at work in each of our stories.
    • It’s not all about me! Getting out of my own funk allows me to finally have an impact for good.
  • So I understand the value of the gospel. Proclaiming Jesus is the most precious gift we can give a hurting world. More precious than chocolate, more valuable than a diamond ring.
    • Paul thought the gospel was worth the chains. It was worth the trials. The glory that awaits us in Christ Jesus far outweighs our struggles this side of eternity (Romans 8:18 and 1 Corinthians 2:9).

Deeper still, I remember that there chains of various sorts eager to bind my heart and mind.

Those figurative chains thwart our attempts to live in the abundant life promised by Jesus.

  • Am I living in the freedom found in Christ? And praying for this for others?
  • Am I finding strength to stand against lies? And praying for this for others?
  • Am I finding confidence, hope, and joy in God’s promises? And praying for this for others?
  • Am I living by grace rather than striving? And praying for this for others?

Lord, let it be so. Let your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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