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Throughout the month of November, I will be reflecting on the book of Colossians, and I invite you to spend time reading and reflecting on these words from the apostle Paul and Timothy to the church in Colossae. This week, we will spend a few moments reflecting on the fourth and final chapter of Colossians.
Click here to read Colossians 4.
As we reach the end of this letter from Paul and Timothy to the church in Colossae, there is so much that I wish we could know more about that surfaces here. For example, Paul references a letter written to the Laodiceans that we do not have today. I wonder what Paul and Timothy wrote to them? I wonder how the Colossians would have heard and incorporated those teachings and encouragements into their lives? And I read about Archippus’ unfinished ministry and wonder what he was doing and what was still left unfinished. There is so much left for us that we don’t see the final pieces of at the end of this letter.
However, there is still opportunity to hear the primary message of this letter in this final chapter. Verses 2-6 especially stand out to me as instructive for this church who is wrestling with how to faithfully follow Jesus without muddying the message of the Gospel with other conflicting messages.
The first way to do this is to spend time in constant prayer. Paul and Timothy want the Colossian Christians to pray and to guard their prayers with thanksgiving. These prayers should return them to God and with a glad spirit. They should not be prayers of grumbling or confusion, but rather prayers that are founded in gratitude for God for what has been done through Jesus. Sin has been defeated; Death will be no more. Justice and righteousness will now flow like a never-ending stream.
Included in their prayers, Paul and Timothy request that the believers pray that the secret plan of Christ may be preached and preached clearly. This is such a fantastic prayer! In today’s world and for faithful followers of Jesus right now, I hope that we continue this prayer. That we might speak in the name of Jesus clearly what the message of the Christian faith is all about. That in discussions where the political realm and national news seems to have more weight in our lives than the person of Jesus or the text of Scripture, that we would be able to clearly speak about how the message of Jesus affects our society–not in favor of one political agenda or another, but solely because of the goodness of God. That we would be able to confront things like racism not because of a social theory, but because we know that in Jesus, all have been made pure before God. That we would be able to confront the weakening or changing nature of morality and call people to live righteously, not because a candidate for public office called us to but because Jesus did. This is what Paul and Timothy desire for the Colossian Christians to pray–that the message of Jesus would be preached clearly. That through them, Christ would be seen–not an agenda or a theory. I pray that we continue to pray that prayer today.
And Paul and Timothy advise that the people act wisely toward outsiders too. Treat others well. With kindness, respect, and compassion. In doing so, you might have an opportunity to respond to them and their needs as Jesus would. The way you treat others can be a witness and a testimony of the truth of the Gospel. And so always be ready to treat someone with the goodness that comes from God.
As this letter concludes, we see that Paul and Timothy desire deeply that the Christians in Colossae would live faithfully to Jesus. That they would learn to treat others always as Jesus would. And that they abide in the foundation of the life, teachings, and work of Jesus for all that they do. I pray that we would have the same heartfelt desire today.