40 day bible challenge
Day 20 | Colossians 4:2-9
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. colossians 4:2-9
I found there’s loads of nuggets of wisdom in this passage as Paul instructs the people of Colossae. I’d encourage you to dwell on it, chew it over verse by verse, sentence by sentence, word by word today and see how it applies to your life. But first here’s a few of my thoughts.
Here Paul calls to the church saying ‘Devote yourselves to prayer’. What do you think of when you hear the word devote? Maybe diligence, commitment, time, love… A dictionary definition I found was: “to give all or most of one’s time or resources to”. Here Paul calls us to devote ourselves to prayer.
Paul then asks for prayer, he places what’s on his heart before the church. At this point he is in prison, as he says ‘I am in chains’. He could quite easily be asking them to pray for a ticket out, more sleep, food, safety in his life, his future… But no, Paul’s purpose in asking for their prayer is to proclaim Jesus. Paul mentions his chains only as a side note, only to emphasise that Jesus was the very reason he bore them, not to save himself from them. And yes, in the bible people do pray for and there are miraculous releases from prisons, but the reason for their release is to proclaim Jesus, to see salvation. This challenged me as to what I pray for, and why I pray for those things.
‘Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity’
Paul’s second instruction within these verses, after prayer, is to be wise in our actions and opportunities. Paul encourages us to live it out, wholeheartedly, in every second of being able to show and share Jesus with the world. This says we can come to God and ask for wisdom, allowing God’s spirit to work though us and trusting that he will work through every opportunity.
“Dwell on this passage, chew it over verse by verse, sentence by sentence, word by word today and see how it applies to your life”
‘so that you may know how to answer to everyone’.
As a human it doesn’t take long to realise you don’t know everything, or even a scratch on the surface of everything there is to know. So in a world of such huge questions, how are we meant to answer to everyone, whatever they ask? Well I was thinking about what Paul is saying here and I don’t think he means we need to know all the answers. Yes, its great to explore and know more, but we’ll never know it all. You see, I think the ‘how’ in this sentence is crucial. Letting our ‘conversation be filled with grace’ and therefore being able to say ‘I don’t know either’, ‘I’m exploring it’ or ‘I’m not sure but here are a few thoughts..’ and allowing God to do the rest.
The last part of this chunk of verses are about Paul sending people to the church in Colossae. For me this shows how all the prayer, instruction and advice Paul’s given is routed in community. These are people being sent to share, encourage and build up the church and who care deeply for them.
So let us be devoted in prayer, so that we can proclaim the gospel wisely, in every opportunity, as a community.
We’re doing a 40 Day Bible Challenge as a Student Church to engage more with the Bible and the daily podcasts we do here as a church.
To listen to today’s podcast on the same passage as above click here.