Don’t you sometimes wish that you had an owner’s manual for Christianity?
An easy little list of "do this/do that" to follow?
God’s Top Ten List???
Of course, the life of faith does not unfold in simplicity – and so, a list could never cover all of the circumstances that life throws our way…right?
And yet, God’s Word has SO many things to teach us about what it means to be believer.
When I read today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" I was struck with this thought – this sounds like a wonderful list! A wise guideline to follow. Good instructions from the "owner’s manual."
"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Jesus Christ…Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers…Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." (Colossians 4:2, 3a, 4, 5a, 6)
Let’s explore this passage together.
Devote yourselves to prayer…
Do you ever get tired of praying for something or someone? In this passage, Paul is calling us to devoted prayer. Devotion – concentrated, committed, single-minded pursuit. We need to pray with persistence, expressing our faith that God answers our prayers – understanding that His answers might not look like what we had hoped for – and they might not arrive when we want them to. But, He is always listening, and He will answer in ways that He knows are best.
…with an alert mind and thankful heart.
Two key ingredients in our prayer life. First, be alert – to me that means checking our motives, asking for God’s wisdom and discernment, watching out for the enemy’s lies – keeping our eyes open to all the possibly distracting things that keep us from praying. The evil one does NOT want us to use this weapon. Second, have a thankful heart. It doesn’t do much good to come to God with a begrudging spirit, or a heart full of doubts. He isn’t a vending machine – plug in a prayer, out pops an answer. We should be mindful to be thankful – so very thankful – that He cares for us, that He listens to us – that He loves us enough to NOT give us everything we ask for.
Pray for us, too…
Intercessory prayer is so important. We need to marshal our resources, using prayer as a way to support each other in the Body of Christ. We can’t control all the circumstances of our lives, but we can pray about them. We can’t always fix the people we love – we often can’t even influence them much. But we can pray about them, pray for them – and we must.
…that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ.
It is good and right to pray for opportunities to tell others about the Good News. Salvation is a simple thing – and yet, it is mysterious. In this life, we will probably never understand the full gravity and wonder of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. And yet, we know the result. We were made right with God. That is something worth talking about. And we should ask God for MANY opportunities to spread His Word to others.
Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
Most people don’t need, and don’t want, a huge dissertation on God and His plan of salvation. That is what is so wonderfully good about the Good News. God chose to make His message "simple" – His wisdom chose profound simplicity. We need to ask God to give us the right words to say – clearly understood words. He will.
Live wisely among those who are not believers.
We’re all looking at "the other guy." We all evaluate those around us – comparing ourselves to others. It’s human nature. And when you identify yourself as a Christian, the stakes go up. We are being watched by the world. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we live according to the grace by which we’ve been called. God sends us out "into" the world, while at the same time commanding us to not be "of" the world. We are God’s representatives – we should live accordingly.
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive…
It is always important to be gracious in what we say. We lose our effectiveness if we are not courteous and respectful. Though we may not agree with another person’s views, we can be kind in our disagreement. Jesus did not "bash" people with His Truth. He made it attractive, compelling. The Greek word here for "attractive" means "seasoned with salt." Doesn’t that sum it up perfectly? Salt adds flavor, making something tastier. We want people to desire to know more about what we believe.
…so that you will have the right response for everyone.
It’s important to know what you’re talking about. It’s important to know Who you’re talking about. But it’s also vital to know who you’re talking to! The Holy Spirit is the one who speaks through us, and we need to seek after and claim His power. Right words, spoken at the right time, in the right manner, make for a message that reaches hearts. So we must be ready with a response when people ask us what and why we believe what we do.
You know, that’s a pretty good list!
Pray for others.
Ask for opportunities to spread the Good News.
Think about your audience.
And never forget, we do not labor alone. We have the Spirit of the Living God within us, and we have each other…
"When in doubt, search God out"
(I am linked up today with Super Sunday, hosted by Peggy - and Spiritual Sundays, hosted by Charlotte and Ginger!)