Paul is in prison. Although he is afforded some privileges, he is still chained to a wall, guarded 24/7. This letter to Colossi was written from that prison.
Paul speaks of Jesus, and points to the fact that our salvation, our redemption comes through Jesus only. He warns about mystical thinking, legalism, and the very real temptation to fall for religious sounding teaching that, in reality, is false religion. He encourages us to stand firm. I love 2:6-7:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
We need not only to know Christ, but to grow in Him through reading His Word and in prayer. Our roots need to grow deep in the Truth.
Colossians is a quick read. But I hope you’ll read it twice, let the words sink in, let your roots grow deep.
Something struck me today. I guess I’m still thinking about this season of year that can be so hard for some. Family drama, financial woes, a fearful diagnosis has some people wanting a fast-forward button. Just get me through the next few weeks, Lord.
But here Paul, in chains, asks the Colossians to pray for him. And how does he ask them to pray?
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. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (4:3-4)
He doesn’t ask them to pray that he’d get out of jail. He didn’t ask them to pray that his troubles would cease. He asked them to pray that God would give him an open door for ministry – not an open door to the outside.
I wonder if that couldn’t be our prayer this Christmas, too. Instead of asking God to fix our circumstances, what if we asked Him to open a door to share the true meaning of the season while our circumstances are holding us captive? What if we asked God to help us look for ways to serve Him in spite of what is going on in our lives at the moment? What if we asked God to change our sorrow to joy so that people will see the supernatural power of God in us?
Christmas holds such an amazing truth I don’t want us to forget. God Himself became a human, a baby born about as poor as a church mouse. God Himself left heaven, and chained Himself to a flesh and blood body so that He could die for sinners. God so loved the world that He came, He grew up and shared His heart with us, He died, and rose again so that we can know Him now and in eternity.
Let’s pray that God will give us opportunities to share this wonderful truth with people during the next few weeks. Instead of focusing on our chains, let’s pray for open doors.