Colossians 4

Today we continue to read about how a follower of Christ (a redeemed one) must live.  One of those things that separates the redeemed from the unredeemed is their speech.  The Bible tells us that our speech gives others a picture of who we are. 
The speech of those who are not children of God are characterized by lies, evil, curses, destruction, pride; to name a few. 

Now Paul tells us that the speech of the child of God is characterized by prayer.  Persevering prayer (the understanding of the word "devote"), the kind of prayer that holds on and will not let go.  Prayers that persist without ceasing.  This kind of prayer is not just referring to the prayers we say out loud in the moments we have set aside, but is also the understanding of a God consciousness that relates every experience in life to Him.

The speech of a Christ follower is one of prayer. 
Prayer of intercession for your brothers and sisters in Christ, prayers of faith praying God's will on earth as it is in heaven for our nation, our city, our leaders.  Prayers like that of Epaphras who was wrestling in prayer so that God's people would stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

But the speech of a Christ follower is also one of thanksgiving.  We are to be watchful, eyes wide open to God responding to our prayers and then we need to be thankful.  How often we tend to not be thankful in response to God's blessings.  The speech of a redeemed one is one of thankfulness, always finding a reason to thank God for the blessings we have received.  I find that it is easy to be thankful when I realize that God does not owe me anything, yet still He chooses to bless me with many blessings.

The speech of a Christ-follower is also one of proclamation.  Paul tells the Colossians that they are to make the most of every chance they have to tell others the Good News.  And that comes because our conversation is filled with grace. When Paul says that our speech should always be with grace he is not talking about us preaching the gospel but our general conversations with people.  No matter what the situation as Christ-followers we are to make gracious speech a habit.  In other words we are to speak what is gentle, truthful, loving, thoughtful, what builds up and not what tears down, and what is wholesome. 

The speech of a Christ-follower should also be seasoned with salt.  For me this means that we are speaking God's truth.  God's truth, like salt, will have an effect on its hearers.  Salt may sting when rubbed on a wound. Salt prevents decay.  Salt adds flavor.  These are the things that God's truth, when spoken in situations, will bring about.

So the question is...What does your speech say about you?

Colossians 3

Christ has come to have first place in everything.

That is the thrust of Paul's message in Colossians.  And now we who have been raised from the old, dead life into life with Christ must give Him first place in every area of our lives.

The truth is that the old life we were saved from still pulls hard on us.  It wants to get us back into it's gravitational pull and we are prone to going back.  Paul reminds the Colossians, and us, that we must continually put Christ first in our lives and that will counteract the pull of the world.

If Christ is first then sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, greed, and undisciplined lives are things that we should not be participating in.  If Christ is first it will be characterized by His nature - compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline.  We will not fly off the handle in rage, quick to forgive others and having a life characterized by love.  He goes on with other ways that we know Christ is first in our lives by talking about how we relate with our spouse, our children, our parent and our bosses.

As we live a life where it is evident that Christ has first place it becomes a witness to an onlooking world.  They need to see that this world has lost it's hold on us and we are now marching to the drumbeat of heaven.

Where are there areas of your life that you have not yet made Christ the Lord?  In what areas does the world have a hold on you?

Colossians 2

 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.


Paul is always one who has discipled people by his example.  He told the Corinthian church that they should follow his example, literally to imitate him.  1 Cor. 4:16.  And in the passage we read we see one of the ways as Christians we should check out and learn from Paul's example. 
In verse 1 he says something that I am challenged by as a husband, father, friend and Christ-follower…Paul tells them that he is contending hard for the people he cares about.  In other words he is saying that he puts strenuous effort, even to the point of agony, in order to ensure the success of those people. 

And what is his definition of success?  Spiritual maturity.  He says that he is contending so that the people he loves can be…

  • encouraged in heart - to stay the course and not give up the fight that is the life of a believer
  • United in love - seeking to bring God's love and grace to situations and not simply putting fuel on the fire of disagreements and offenses.
  • Complete understanding of what it means to be a child of God
  • And that they have a ever increasing revelation of who Christ is.

As people of God we must follow Paul's example and contend for those we love. 
We should be striving, fighting, putting strenuous effort in to seeing them come to Christ and stay rooted in Him.  We must be live a life that shows them what it means to be united in love.  We should be contending daily to grow in the knowledge and understanding of who Christ is and what it means to be His child.

Are you contending?


Colossians 1

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience...

Reading and studying God's Word should bring about transformation and not just information.  The transformation takes place because as we read and study God's Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal God's truths to us, we come to a knowledge of God's will for us.  What is God's will?  In a nutshell - to be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, daily becoming more and more like His Son and partnering with Him to accomplish His will on earth as it is in heaven.

The knowledge of God will is the understanding of having an understanding of God;s will and being totally controlled by it.  When we have that knowledge we are able to understand how then we must live, being able to apply the Word of God to our daily living, and the more that we apply the Word of God correctly to our daily living the more we grow in godly character, becoming more and more like God's Son.

This progression, Paul says is one that is pleasing to God.  Let us live this kind of life.  It starts with reading and studying God's Word.  Make it a habit.  Do you know it only takes 5-6 weeks of doing something for it to become a habit?  And did you know that our habits play a great role in what our future looks like?  Start a habit of reading and studying God's Word.

Try the SOUL approach. 
    Read the Scriptures. 
    Observe by asking what the author is trying to say to his original audience. 
    Understand the passages and letters better by doing some research on context. 
    Then apply the Life principles to your daily living.  


How is your SOUL?

Colossians 3

It is easy to miss it as we read the New Testament from our individualistic mindset but today I could not help but notice the underlying assumption of Paul as he is writing to the Colossians.  He assumes that they are doing life together.  There is always the understanding that community and assembly are involved.  We discussed in Higher Learning last week that before time began God existed in community and He has gifted us with that community.  When we were adopted into the family of God we were given this incredible gift of fellowship with the family - community and assembly.  It is not a optional part of being in the family, it is a direct way that God is working out His will and plan in our lives.  Our new nature and identity is inextricably tied up in our community with the family of God.  WE cannot practice forgiveness without the family of God.  We cannot be unified if we are the only one present.  We cannot encourage each other if we are not assembled with each other.  Gentleness, humility and patience is worked out as we do life together.

Don't miss out on one of the most important ways that we are made in the image of God = community.  Join together with other believers on Sundays and at GROW groups and experience community the way the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit has since before time began. 

Colossians 4

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 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. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Paul continues his discussion of how the child of God lives.  He talks about his relationships with God's family, biological family, with work relationships.  Now he says that not only must our relationships be Christ-like but so must our speech.  The people around us are watching how we live AND SPEAK as they evaluate Christianity and we are called to live and speak in such a way that reflects our new found status as children of God.

Jesus tells us that our speech reflects the kind of person we are.  In Matt 12:34 he says that the mouth reflects what is really in our heart.  Our speech, as James tells us, is one of the most difficult things to control and gives us an indicator of what is going on inside. 

The Bible tells us that the speech of the unredeemed is filled with things such as boasting, gossip, evil plots, hatred, curses, lying and name a few.  In contrast the speech of those who are now children of God should be characterized by things such as prayer, praise to God, blessing of enemies, confession of faith, building each other up, wisdom and kindness.

Paul asks the Colossians to have the speech of the redeemed: praying, giving thanks (vs 2).  Clear proclamation of the gospel (vs 3).  Full of grace, wise in your response to people (especially unbelievers) building others up instead of cutting them down (vs 4).

Lord let people know that I am a child of God because of my words.  Let praise, prayer, encouragement and thankfulness be ever present on my lips.  Thank you for loving me and saving me.  Thank you that in You I find everything I need for life and living (even if the circumstances say otherwise).  Thank you that I can be called Your child.

Colossians 3

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

How does that translate into daily living?  It seems that in Paul's explanation of what that looks like a vast majority of that has to do with how we interact with others.

Much of what it means to live as children of God, whose hearts and minds are set on things above, shows itself in our relationships with people.  Paul says that children of God treat others with compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience while being humble not arrogant.  Forgiving one another just as God forgave us.  Being peacemakers, teaching and admonishing one another.  Wives submitting to husbands, husbands loving wives, children obeying parents, workers being respectful to their bosses by putting in a proper day's work.

Am I living as a child of God who has been saved by grace and adopted into His family?  Or do I continue to walk in the old ways? 
Is my heart and mind set on things above? 
Am I willing to abandon the old ways of unforgiveness and anger, impatience and arrogance. 
Do my relationships with others reflect a redeemed heart and will others testify of that lifestyle in me?

In my life Lord be glorified as I set my heart and mind on you.

Colossians 2

 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Having received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior Paul tells his audience that they are not done but just getting started.  Believing the good news and receiving the Giver of life they are now to live in Him.  He goes on to say what living in Him means…be deeply rooted in Christ, being built up in Him and strengthened in the faith that they were taught.  The believer's life must also be characterized by thankfulness. 

Live in Him:  To take the Good News in faith that it is true.  We are now children of God, adopted into His family through His Son Jesus.  This new found status requires a change in the way we live - no longer are we living according to our old way of life and it's rules, we now live by the standard of those who are God's children. 

Rooted and built up in Him:  The best way I know how to be rooted in God is by taking time to read, study and ruminate on His Word and then allowing the revelation in there to transform our lives.  We are built up as we read, study, and put into practice God's Word.

Overflowing with Thankfulness:  The life of a child of God should be characterized by thankfulness.  Thankful because of the amazing gift of grace we have received.  We were saved from death to life and not this life, complete with its hardships is a journey of joy because we are now children of God.  

Lord help my life to be characterized by thankfulness - in this life we may have hard times but I rejoice because you have overcome the world.  You have given me life and love completely undeserved.  Thank you so much.  May people see a difference in me because I live thankfulness.  And Father thank you for your Word that gives me roots so that I can be built up and transformed into your image and likeness.  May I use that gift prudently.


Colossians 4

Gary Parker

  • Colossians 4:2-6 (NIV)

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.


Paul gives us the key that unlocks the potential to live out the Great Commission here in Colossians.

 First, he points out that our ability to know and discern the Spirit’s voice is through devoting ourselves to prayer. Through prayer (talking to God) we learn to recognize God’s voice when he speaks.

 Next, Paul exhorts us to be watchful and ready to obey when He speaks. I realize that I will never see the divine appointments and opportunities to share Christ’s love and story if I continue to walk with my eyes cast downward, my focus on myself and my nose to the grindstone. If I will look up at the world, the people and the circumstances around me with the invitation and the expectation that the Holy Spirit is going to use me to share His love with lost and hurting people, then I believe that I will be quite surprised at exactly how many chances I have missed in the past.

 Paul then gives us good counsel on how to act toward those with questions or comments. Not with defensiveness or arrogance, but with grace, compassion and patience (2 Tim 4:2).

 Finally, Paul makes an assumption that as we use words as appetizing as salt and live a life that demonstrates God’s love, people will come to us in order to ask us questions regarding our faith.

This, then, is nothing less than the blueprint to fulfill the Great Commission.

  • Am I partnering with the Holy Spirit in prayer for discernment?
  • Am I seizing opportunities to walk across the room to tell my story? God’s story?
  • Are my words and attitudes attractive?
  • Is anyone asking me about my faith? Am I prepared to answer?


Colossians 3

THE PG Interpretation

"Now that you are God-followers pursue the things of God, be alert to what HE is doing and join with Him.  As a God-follower you left the old life behind so get rid of all the old life ways
Things like sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like doing it.  Don't let feelings be the decision maker.  No more lying or discrimination either.

But here is how you need to behave...
allow God to clothe you with compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline. 
Be even-tempered,
content with second place,
quick to forgive an offense. 
Let love be evident in everything you do.

Be thankful,
be obedient to God's Word,
worship God in singing and prayer but also in the everyday moments of your lives.

Wives understand and support your husbands by submitting to them.
Husbands love your wives and don't take advantage of them.
Children do what your parents tell you to do.
Parents don't crush your child's spirit.
Workers do your best work for your bosses not your minimum - being a Christian doesn't cover up bad and shoddy work."

Okay so I used some of The Message wording but imagine what would happen if God-followers were faithful to this list - the world would see a major difference in us and we would be great witnesses of Christ.  Being a Great Commission person would happen without you having to learn a bunch of formulas and we would be reaping a great harvest. 

Let us do whatever it takes to reap the harvest - let our lives reflect that we are God-followers.