Seems like we just kicked-off Colossians yesterday, but I **blinked** and this week we wrap up with a short 18 verse study. Beginning in early May we will do a quick stint in Philemon and read of Paul’s plea for his friend, Onesimus (Philemon is only one chapter, and it’s the final of Paul’s Prison Epistles). I have some BIG NEWS to share soon regarding Divinely Interrupted. The suspense is killing you, isn’t it? Okay, fine. I’ll go ahead and spill the beans.
Just kidding. You have to be patient (as I’ve had to be – sharing is caring, right?!). Alright, back to business in closing out Colossians...
1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
- Each one of us is under authority. Even Jesus, who came to this broken world to be our Savior, lived His life under the authority of the Father. Yet, He was equal to God (John 5:18). This world has twisted the concept of submission and authority. We can’t confuse value with submission. Wives are under the submission of husbands when it comes to the home (Ephesians 5) and the church (1 Timothy 2), but submission – when properly lived – does not diminish value. In fact, submission and authority enhance the value of others. We learned in Philippians 2:3 to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but to think of others better than yourself. Regardless of your position – master, slave, husband, wife, teacher, leader – know that you serve Him. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (Colossians 3:23).
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.
- Other translations say, “continue in prayer” and that speaks of what we’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” That’s a say easy, do hard verse. The continual prayer life is one we must choose to devote ourselves to, and unceasingly practice. There is no deeper affection and connection like what is experienced in intimate conversation with God.
- When we are at ease, we are an easy target. That’s why we’re told to be watchful. Stay on guard; the devil prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
- Paul wasn’t afraid to ask for prayer, and it takes a vulnerable heart to express to others how you would like their conversations with God to include you. What a privilege it is to go to the Lord in prayer about His own people. As a mama, it ignites my heart when my boys want to pray for their loved ones. I’m certain God loves to hear those prayers, too.
- “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” As I grow older, I realize how important it is to keep character and integrity untarnished. We truly are the only Jesus some people may encounter, and we must continue to be godly ambassadors of His Kingdom. Let’s represent well.
- Verse 6 is so powerful: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” In this day and age, salt was a preservative. It was rubbed on meats to slow the rotting process. You may have heard the saying, “worth its salt.” This is a phrase that someone or something deserves respect and has value. The phrase actually originated with the ancient Romans during this age, who highly valued salt. As a believer, our words must be seasoned with salt – meaning, a preservative to others, respectable, and valuable. Be full of grace and seasoned with salt! You’ll taste delicious.
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
- We’re going to learn more about Onesimus when we study Philemon. I love how Paul continues to send other believers to the church so they can be encouraged in heart. Be a Tychicus to others today!
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
- Paul was blessed with other believers (including some fellow prisoners of God), despite his house arrest. God beautifully positions people in our life who can be encouragements to us.
- “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Man, I love this sentence. As we learned about continuing in prayer earlier in the chapter, I can easily visualize the wrestling in prayer. Prayer is a verb. It is action-oriented and stirs up the spirit of the believer and the receiver. When we studied Ephesians 6, we learned about The 4 E’s of Fierce Living. We were instructed – repeatedly – to take a stand against the devil’s schemes and to stand our ground and be firm. The same urging is repeated here. Stick your landing, friends.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
- Paul instructed the Colossians not to be “letter hogs.” Sharing is caring, friends! What truth is the Lord speaking to you? How can you share it with others? Many times, I send out a few text messages each week to a list of folks. They are little nuggets of wisdom I’ve dug up in my quiet time or a Word freshly spoken to me. Share those truths – they could be a timely encouragement to others.
- Verse 17 offers prodding to Archippus, but also to us: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.” In other words: finish. We can get distracted so quickly in this world, and with all the noise around us we must not become distracted. Be strong finishers.
- Paul concludes his letter, reassuring the Colossians that he has personally taken the time to write this note. A personal note or letter can be so powerful. I try to write to my boys on occasion for this very reason. “Remember my chains. Grace be with you.” And may grace be with you, my sweet tribe. Amen.