Colossians Chapter 4

Today’s Game: Distraction vs. Devotion

I have a popular sports app on my phone, which conveniently allows me to follow my favorites. My app reflects perhaps an awkward devotion to a motley collection of teams and sports from my childhood, places I’ve lived, and experiences I’ve had. I have to admit that too frequently, I allow my keen interest in these activities to cross the line into unhealthy distraction.

Although distractionand devotionare not world-famous teams, they are colossal themes that vie for our affection daily.

In Colossians 4, one theme Paul eloquently conveys is the importance of devotion to prayer.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.”  Colossians 4:2-4 (NLT)

There is so much in this passage – I will concentrate on the word “devote”. This is an intense word. It has meaning overflowing with intentionality, frequency, and faithfulness. Prayer is important! It is our mechanism to actually connect in conversation – in real life – to our gracious and loving Heavenly Father. He is there with us. When is he with us? When is he available? When does he desire to connect with us? Always, always, always!

In some ways, distractions can be healthy rather than unhealthy, and I certainly do not intend this commentary to squash all whimsy! However, it is all too easy for the innumerable distractions in our lives to rule over our time and our minds – such is the oft effective work of the enemy.

What is your most common daily distraction? What takes your focus away from devotion to prayer?

The main point, put quite simply, is that Paul is prodding us to pray! Just PRAY! Often! More often they you _________ (fill in the blank with your daily distraction)!

May DEVOTION be the victor in your game today

Colossians Chapter 3

I like the way Paul uses clothing metaphor to describe how believers are to be different from non-believers.  I think of how styles change from season to season, especially women’s clothes, and when a person wishes to express their moods, they select colors or styles that reflect that mood.  It is also said that clothing tells something about that person.  So Paul relates changing or putting on “clothing” that reflect compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience and putting off “clothing” of our earthly nature, some of which are sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed.

I see a major problem in doing so as we get all too used to our “earthly

Nature’ clothing.  Some of our “earthly clothing” may be too comfortable to replace, like an old t-shirt that we worn so long that it has become a favorite, or shirt, or dress that has gotten favorable comments through time.  When we get too comfortable with things, it is difficult to “toss out” or give away to Good Will.  Becoming a “new person” can be uncomfortable.

When we need to feel like a “new person” do we buy new clothes or put on something different or fresh?  Putting on new clothes or fresh clothes really don’t do much if we don’t bathe or shower before!  The real issue in changing into a new man or woman is from the inside-spiritually. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit an real change take place- a process of sanctification-a life long process. II Corinthians 5:16-17 puts it this way: “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.  At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.  How differently we know him now. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”

Colossians Chapter 2

In Colossians 2, Paul urges Christ followers to find all we need in Christ.  At the time of the writing of Colossians 2, some Christians were attempting to follow a strict asceticism, denying themselves food, drink or earthly comforts in an effort to increase their ability to experience unity with God.  While Jesus did refer to periodic fasting as a means to effective prayer (see Mark 9:29), he did not teach His followers to exalt fasting as a means to increase their ability to experience unity with Himself. Instead, it’s our daily walk with Christ, the daily surrender of our will for His will that results in continual fellowship with Him.  To exalt anything other than Christ Himself as a means to unity with Christ is what Paul was warning believers against.

I am reminded of John 15:5 where Jesus states, “I am the Vine, you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  

One of my favorite ways to remain in Christ is through thankfulness.  When things are humming along, when home, health and family are all good, it’s easy to be thankful.  When things are tough, or uncertainty looms, I can give thanks that I serve the One who knows the answer, even when I don’t.  When I feel like I don’t have the time, money or resources to do what I think I need to do, I can be thankful that my heavenly Father owns all things, including time and all treasure.  I remember that He finds many ways to take care of us.  What I know for sure is “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). 

There is nothing we need to add to Christ to experience unity with Christ.  He is completely and utterly sufficient for all of our needs, now and forever. 

Colossians Chapter 1

This is how Colossians starts out: “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.”

Isn’t it awesome that Paul knows exactly who he is and what his main purpose is?  How might I introduce myself:  This blog is from Dave, an elder at church of the Chimes, chosen by God to share a sliver of truth about Jesus with you today. 

Here is the sliver that I would like to share.   Did you know that regardless of what ugly things you might have done in the past, today you are viewed by God as holy and blameless!  Yes, God sees you without a single fault!  This is astonishing to me.  Not only are you and me forgiven for our ugly behaviors, thoughts, words, etc.  But God has completely forgotten them and sees us as Holy, pure, righteous, perfect, and faultless.  

This truth has been revealed throughout many of our readings leading up to today in the New Testament challenge.  But today it was revealed again in verse  22 which speaks of how God the father views us today. Here’s what verse 22 says, “Yet now he (God) has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he (God) has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”

Notice that as described in this verse we did nothing to deserve being viewed like this by God. First of all, it was God the father who reconciled us to himself.  Second of all, it was by virtue of the physical death of God the son (Jesus) who served the sentence for our violations and thereby took away our sins so that we can be seen as blameless.  And third of all, it is God the father who brings us into his presence, we did not approach him.  God did it all.  We did not earn it, and possibly we did not even want it.  But he wanted to be reconciled to us and he wanted to be with us. 

Pretty awesome, huh?  I think we should celebrate!