October 8, 2018
DOES YOUR CONDUCT AND CONVERSATION LINE UP WITH YOUR FAITH?
In the context of the previous verse, in which Paul told the Colossians to conduct themselves wisely around unbelievers, he went on in this verse to give them instructions concerning their conversation around unbelievers as well. He taught them that their conduct and conversation should line up with their faith, so that those who are not believers might be moved to ask about the hope that they have.
Paul gave two attributes and one goal for our conversation when unbelievers are present:
1) Let your conversation be gracious. Our words should carry the beauty and blessing that comes with the favor God has shown us.
2) Let your conversation be attractive. Literally, “seasoned with salt.” Salt is something we add to our food for added flavor. What would make our words taste better, so that they are attractive? Blessing people with the “salty” truths of God’s Word.
Be prepared to give the right response concerning the hope you have in Christ. When our conversation is gracious and attractive and our conduct is wise, unbelievers want to know why. This is the opportunity for gospel sharing. As the apostle Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).
October 7, 2018
ARE YOU SPIRITUALLY JET-LAGGED?
Paul encouraged the Colossians believers to set their hearts and minds on things above, pulling them off the things of earth. He wanted them to focus on things that are eternal, not the temporal things that will not last. He encouraged them to remember that their lives are already hidden in Christ, and that Christ would soon return.
In a few weeks, those of us in the Eastern US will reset our clocks from DST to EST. We will “fall back” an hour. For a few days we will feel as though we got an extra hour sleep, but then we will quickly adapt to the new time. It only requires a small adjustment. But when we travel to Africa or Indonesia or some other far away place to visit our missionary partners, the adjustment is much more severe. We experience jet lag. Our bodies might be in Uganda, but our internal clocks are still in North Carolina! It can be very disorienting.
But I’ve learned that it helps alleviate jet lag to start setting your time on your destination as soon as you get on the plane. We may not have taken off yet, but we can go ahead and set our clocks on our destination’s time.
Where’s your focus today? Dear believer, your life is already hidden in Christ, yet your body is still here on earth. Why not go ahead and set your sights on the realities of heaven? Let the things of earth “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
October 6, 2018
FOLLOWING CHRIST IS NOT ABOUT RULES BUT RELATIONSHIP
Paul warned the believers in Colossae that asceticism, while it gives the appearance of wisdom, offers no help in conquering evil desires. In fact, following a list of “don’ts” might cause a deeper longing for the thing denied. At the very least, it can lead to a kind of spiritual pride, so that the ascetic feels superior to those addicted to the things of the flesh.
The truth is, the more I focus on not doing something, the more I think about that something that I’m not doing. So, what is the answer? “Put off” the old nature which lost its power over you when received Christ. Count it dead, crucified with Christ. And immediately “put on” the new nature, which is yours in the risen Christ. Remember that in Christ there is no longer any condemnation. All your sins are forgiven. You are no longer a slave to sin, but a bondservant of Christ. You belong to Christ Jesus.
Following Christ is not about religious rule-keeping, but about walking in the new relationship we have as children of God in Christ Jesus.
October 5, 2018
PAUL’S AGONY FOR BELIEVERS
Paul often “agonized” for the believers in towns and cities where he had been before, but had left behind in order to carry the gospel to other places. Colossae was one of these places. Located in the province of Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey), Colossae was the least of three cities found in the Lycus valley, the other two, Hieropolis and Laodicea, being more prominent. Although we have no record of who planted the church in Colossae, the apostle Paul certainly must have passed through this area on one of his many missionary journeys. In fact, he spent three years ministering in the city of Ephesus, which was only 119 miles from Colossae or a week’s travel on foot. Yet, Paul agonized over the saints in places like Colossae and Laodicea, which he named in the verse above.
What did Paul mean by saying he “agonized” over them? Perhaps the best understanding is found in Dr. Strong’s definition of the Greek word, ἀγών (“agon”), as an “intense solicitude or anxiety.” Paul wrestled in his prayers and thoughts over the believers in Colossae, Laodicea and even those he didn’t know personally. What a heart Paul had for the sheep the Great Shepherd had entrusted to him!
Today, the sites of Hieropolis, Laodicea and Colossae are in ruins, with Colossae only being marked by a sign on what archaeologists call a “tel” (“An unexcavated mound”). The places may now lie in ruins, but the people that placed their trust in Christ are now in that everlasting city not made by human hands.
October 7, 2017
Christ Jesus is “all” God and “all” man. This is a paradox, yet precisely what the Bible reveals. As the second person of the “Godhead,” which is the Trinity, He was, and is, absolute and perfect God. All the “fullness” of the essence of God is in Him “bodily.” As the apostle John wrote, “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus is God in the flesh. When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord, He is the “Head” and we are members of His body. Having received Christ, we are “complete in Him.” There is nothing missing, nothing to be added. So, the apostle Paul argued against the Judaizers, who would require Gentile believers to be circumcised and follow Jewish laws, on this basis. In Christ, believers are “complete.” They are already “circumcised with the circumcision made without hands” (Col. 2:11) because they have been made “complete in Him.”
Dearly beloved, you are complete in Christ!
October 8, 2016
Live with godly wisdom toward those who are outside the faith. Let them see Christ in you. Remember that you were once an “outsider” too, but Christ has brought you near. Be alert for the opportune time to share your faith in Christ with them. There are two Greek words in the Bible for time. One is “chronos,” which refers to chronological or sequential time. The other, which is the word found in our verse today, is “kairos,” which refers to a right moment when things come to a head, an opportune or suitable time. So, live wisely with unbelievers, looking for the “kairos” moment to join God in His redemptive work.
October 4, 2016
This was Paul’s prayer for the Colossians, that they might “walk worthy of the Lord” who had saved them. The Christian life is not a leap nor a sprint, but a “walk.” It is a daily spiritual discipline of denying oneself and following Jesus. With each step we learn to walk in the Spirit in order to bear the fruit of good works and we grow in our study of God’s Word, knowing Him better and better. Putting away the former things and putting on Christ, we walk with a desire to “fully please” the Lord in all things.