Thursday, February 03, 2022

2022.02.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 4:2–6

Read Colossians 4:2–6

Questions from the Scripture text: In what must they continue (Colossians 4:2)? In what manner? Being what? With what? For whom also must they pray (Colossians 4:3)? That God would open what? So the apostle can speak what? What has already happened to him for this? What must he do to the mystery (Colossians 4:4)? By doing what in the way that he ought? How must they walk (Colossians 4:5)? Toward whom? Doing what? What must their speech always be with (Colossians 4:6)? What does grace do to speech? What must they know?

Colossians 3:18–4:1 focused especially on how to do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus (cf. Colossians 3:17) in all our domestic relationships. But what about those outside our home and church? 

First of all, for all these relationships, inside and out, our hope is in the Lord. Therefore, prayer is the primary thing. It’s not the only thing; there’s much more that the Lord commands. But this is a necessary aspect of doing all in the Name of the Lord Jesus: not only doing what He prescribes, but doing it only by His power, and therefore bathing all that we do in prayer.

Sadly, our flesh is sluggish to pray, easily distracted in prayer, and quick to leave off. To the sluggishness, Colossians 4:2 says, “continue”! To the distraction, verse 2 says, “earnestly”! And to the leaving off, verse 2 says “being vigilant”! 

And it will not do to persist as if the outcome is in doubt—as if our persistence is what is making it come about. No, “with thanksgiving” (verse 2) means that’s a joyously, confidently expectant persistence… praying because you know He’s hearing and answering.

As said above, prayer is not the only thing, and we find this out by what the apostle asks them to pray for. His own ministry. When he says “as I ought to speak” in Colossians 4:4, he makes it clear that it is his duty to speak clearly (“make manifest”) what God has done and revealed (“the mystery,” Colossians 4:3) in Christ. It’s an action that he must take. But he will only be able to do so by grace, so he asks them to pray not only for opportunities but for his faithfulness when the opportunity comes.

Although not called to be preachers who clearly show forth the mystery of Christ, the Thessalonians do have an analogous ministry (as does every believer). They too are speakers of a sort. We all have conversations in life, and we ought to see them as “open doors” provided by God. Opportunities not to be wasted but rather “redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). 

So, we should seek to have everything we say colored by God’s provision of grace in Jesus Christ. Without this consideration, it’d be like our speech is unseasoned: bland at best, rotting and possibly deadly at worst. How many conversations most believers have that are no different than they would have been without the gospel—graceless, saltless, wasted speech! So we must pray for wisdom and walk in wisdom, because each one we speak to will have a different best way to “speak up for grace” to them. Just as there is a way that the apostle ought to speak (end of Colossians 4:4), so there is a way that all believers ought to speak (end of Colossians 4:6)!

What part does prayer have in your daily routine? What part does prayer have in your continual inner conversation? What does the amount of thanksgiving in your prayer tell you about the level of confidence in Christ with which you pray? What are you doing to build skill in having conversations that are seasoned specifically to each one?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You wisely ordain all things. Forgive us for how much of our speech is graceless, saltless. Grant unto us opportunity for the gospel, and by Your Spirit, provide our own wisdom for making the most of those opportunities. Whether in our families and churches, or with outsiders, grant that we would do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, in which Name we also pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP67 “O God Give Us Your Blessing” or TPH400 “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me”

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