Thank You, Father, for those who have made the gospel clear to me, and for the brothers and sisters who have comforted and encouraged me in my times of depression, discouragement, and weariness. Please help me not to give up asking You to complete all Your purposes. Make me a blessing to my brothers and sisters this week, and give me Your divine wisdom for my interactions with those who do not yet believe Your gospel. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Colossians 4
MAY GOD OPEN A DOOR
Be praying, like Paul, for God to open the door for our message.
Paul closed this section on the Christ-rooted life by discussing relationships with other believers and with outsiders. As in many of his writings, he urged the Colossian saints to persist in prayer. He highlighted the need for them to pray for people like Paul, whose special calling was to proclaim the gospel. From this example we can see the kind of things we should pray for: that God would carry out His purposes in and through people.
When it comes to people outside, the Colossian saints must “walk in wisdom . . . making the best use of the time” (4:5). The concept of wisdom appeared first in Colossians 1, where Paul described it as what we need to know God’s will and to grow in Him. Later, in Colossians 2, Paul contrasted wisdom with human reasoning that rebels against Christ’s authority. Now, in Colossians 4, Paul says this God-given way of seeing and understanding life will be what enables the Colossians to live as Christ’s ambassadors to those who did not yet believe. The lesson is simple: we shouldn’t use only human methods that attempt to persuade men and women to believe the gospel, especially since we ourselves have only come to believe it through divine wisdom.
It is interesting to notice in Paul’s conclusion the different ways he was thankful for his brothers and sisters. Tychicus, Onesimus, and Luke were “beloved” brothers. Aristarchus, Mark, and Jesus had “been a comfort” to Paul. Epaphras had “worked hard” for the Colossian saints. These words and Paul’s specific greetings show he was a normal human just like us. He cared about people; he missed them; he relied on them for encouragement.
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
- Have you grown tired of praying for your fellow believers, teachers, or mentors? Think about how other Christians have encouraged you in the past. Let these thoughts spur you to keep praying for the Christians in your life.
- What’s your strategy for speaking the gospel to people who do not yet believe? How should your strategy change based on Paul’s instructions to the Colossians?
- Think of one or two people who taught you the gospel. Pray for them that God would help them plainly declare the gospel to others.
- Someone has said that evangelism should be thought of as intersection more than addition. Write down some ideas of how you can use your regular interactions with unbelievers more wisely, having the courage to speak gracious, yet discomforting words. Practice using your ideas and share with another Deepen Discipleship participant on how it went.