Devotional Reading: I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Lesson Scripture: Colossians 4:2-6
Lesson Aims: To discuss the implications of a prayer life; recognize how to witness and its impact; and always be ready to be used by God.
Background: Paul’s instructions to the Colossians on holy living will conclude in today’s lesson. Believers were very dear to the apostle’s heart. It didn’t matter if he started their church or not; all of them were united in one body. As a witness to or an ambassador of Christ, believers were set aside to live differently. This had nothing to do with superiority or inferiority. Accepting Christ was/is the first step in the transformation to a “new life.” The reference here is not about Salvation but moving toward spiritual maturity. Paul knew that living by Christ’s standards profoundly influenced others. Living holy basically means the relationship the believer has with all people whether they are in the body or not. The faith was spreading rapidly and the apostles recognized the need for instruction and unity in the body, regardless of their location. Instruction (theology) was the key, along with practical application.
The Good News was not a fad or some fleeting trend that would soon fade away. It’s a commitment. Jesus’ message was/is the game changer in this journey called life. Its transforming power shifted the focus from self to others. This “new life” also influenced the way believers viewed the world. As Paul completes this epistle, allow your mind and heart to examine what you do to determine if you really live like Jesus.
Lesson: These five verses pack a wallop in the lives of believers everywhere! Not only are believers clothed in Christ (their completeness), they are to live in such a way that they influence the world – not vice versa. Paul’s instructions for accomplishing this is to pray, live wisely and speak graciously. He recognizes that they are praying already but their prayer life should become stronger and deeper. Praying shows a dependence on God and His provisions. Prayer also implies that the believer knows that temptation is all around and without Him they will fall. Much more than asking for something, prayer expresses thankfulness for all His bountiful blessings for everyone.
You see, prayer is not selfish! It is conversing with God but also listening to His response. Believers’ witness should be clear so as not to confuse those who may not fully understand. Living wisely is a combination of right knowledge and ethical insight into God’s Will. Believers’ lives should please God and say to the world that Jesus is Lord. Wisdom living is having the right attitude in all areas of life. Believers’ lives are not about them but about God’s salvation due to His grace and mercy extended to them. How do you treat people (saved or unsaved) speaks volumes about one’s character. When the opportunity arises to witness, the wise will know “what to say” (appropriateness) and “how to say it” (graciousness). By one’s lifestyle and words, believers can persuade others to join the body of Christ. Ultimately, Paul says to the Colossians (and to us), “Your daily life is very important in witnessing for Christ.”
The Spring Quarter will focus on the theology of hope in the Old and New Testaments.