Monday, November 7, 2022

           Paul’s letter named Colossians was intended for the Christians in the city of Colosse.  This city was located in what we know as modern-day Turkey.  The apostle greeted his readers as “God’s holy people” and faithful “brothers and sisters in Christ” (Colossians 1:2).  Clearly, the believers in that city meant so much to him and had a special place in his heart and ministry.  He began his letter to the Colossians with a stirring offer of thanksgiving and an opening prayer.  We read, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people” (Colossians 1:3-4).  A few lessons stand out for us to see in this simple prayer.
            First, Paul said that the mere memory of these Colossian believers moved him to give thanks to God.  Are there people for whom you possess profound gratitude and thankfulness?  God often places people in our lives that move us to heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation.  We are entering the Thanksgiving season where we take a more careful look or accounting of where God has blessed us and provided for us.  One such source of blessing could be the people that God sends into your life.  You might be thankful for a teacher, a neighbor, your doctor, a coach or an employer who blessed you in some lasting and special way.
            Second, Paul took note of the faith of the Colossians.  Their confidence and trust in God stood out for Paul to see.  He prayed for God to continue to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of His will and wisdom.  Do you admire someone’s faith?  Is there a person you would single out for possessing an amazing and inspiring faith?  Learning to trust God more profoundly and more consistently is a lesson that many of us would love to master.  We can pray for the Lord to increase our faith.  The disciples did.  We can ask God to help us develop a deeper faith that can glorify Him and encourage others around us.
            Third, Paul acknowledged the love of the Colossians (for Him and for other believers).  Their fellowship was sweet and endearing.  One aspect of their love might have been their willingness to root out false teaching and immorality.  They loved truth and righteousness more than deception and sin.  These two sins were consistent challenges and threats to churches and believers in the first century.  It has been said that the church that corrects is the church that loves.  The Colossians could have been aggressive in addressing false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing that threatened the truth and harmony of the church.  Paul gave a stern warning about the dangers of worldly wisdom in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”    
            To counteract “hollow and deceptive philosophy” as Paul stated, we are to continue in Christ and to hold fast to Him and in Him.  Live with gratitude, faith and love in the face of the world’s assaults and traps.  Paul wrote in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”  A spirit of gratitude often turns our thoughts to the Lord.  And when we think of the Lord, we express gratitude.  Gratitude pays huge dividends as it builds our faith and love and opens us to what God is doing in our lives and all around us.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship any time at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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