Summary: Paul shares a few practical principals about being focused on Christ.
A little girl got up late one Sunday morning and she hurried and put on her Sunday best. She went outside and began running to the Church and praying “Dear Lord please don’t let me be late, Dear Lord please don’t let me be late. A couple of blocks down the street she fell and got dirt on her and tore her dress. She got back up and started running again and praying “Dear Lord please don’t let me be late, but don’t push me either.
Have you ever been given directions that seemed to be complicated and confusing? You know the ones where there are too many turns and not enough landmarks. In the book of Colossians Paul is attempting to correct false teachings in the Church. In doing this he presents ideas that are not found anywhere else in the New Testament. I’m sure that by the end of this letter his readers were a little confused by all the new teachings. Paul wants them to understand that despite what they have been taught the Christian life is about Christ. In Chapter four he gives them a few practical practices to help them with this idea. Today I want you to focus your life on Christ. So let’s look at some practical practices that will help you focus on Christ.
Transition: In order to be focused on Christ,
I. We must practice the discipline of prayer. (2-4)
A. We must pray like we mean it.(2a)
Paul tells the Colossians to continue earnestly in prayer being vigilant in it. It is not possible to be Christ like and pray wimpy prayers. Jesus was all about prayer. The night Jesus was betrayed by Judas and was to be arrested he prayed so earnestly and vigilantly to the point that he sweat great drops of blood. When you study this passage it is clear that Jesus did sweat drops of blood and this is not just a figure of speech. He was most likely suffering from hematidrosis or hemohidrosis (Allen, 1967, pp. 745-747), this condition results in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Under conditions of great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture (Lumpkin, 1978), thus mixing blood with perspiration. Jesus knew what it meant to pray earnestly. Now I pray that you never find yourself to be under such stress that you find yourself sweating blood. The point is not the blood the point is he was praying even under the most stress a human can bare. If you will remember his disciples were so stressed that they could do nothing but sleep. We need to be faithful to pray. We must never allow our emotions or our physical conditions to keep us from prayer.
B. We must pray in an attitude of thankfulness.(2b)
At the end of verse two Paul tells us to pray with thanksgiving. This is another example of being Christ like. In Luke chapter seventeen Jesus comes across ten lepers and He heals them all. He then tells them to go and show themselves to the priest. A little while later one of them comes back and praised God for his healing. Jesus then ask the question were there not ten of you where are the other nine? Are you thankful for what God has done in your life? When you pray is it always to ask God to do something for you? Will you try praying in an attitude of thankfulness when you pray? I know it will warm God’s heart if more than one out of ten people would show their thankfulness.
C. We must unselfishly pray for ministers of the gospel.(3-4)
1. That they will be comforted and capable
Paul reminds them in verse three that he is in chains. He is actually sitting in prison writing this wonderful letter about living life for Christ. The most amazing part is he is praying for the opportunity to share Christ. I think that the fact he mentions his chains is enough to understand that we should pray for his comfort. If a p.o.w is allowed to write home and he says he is fine you know that he is suffering and you don’t say well we don’t have to worry about him he is doing well. Where we would not forget to pray for someone comfort we do sometimes forget to pray that someone in a bad situation will have the opportunity to share Christ. Part of living a Christ like life is always thinking about the furtherance of God’s kingdom.
2. That they will have the right words
In verse four Paul makes his desire for prayer more specific. That he will say what he ought to say. So often we are quick to say the things that we want to say or that we feel we should say. These things so often turn out to be the wrong things to say. God’s word tell us in James Chapter three that out of the mouth come blessing and cursing life and death. Our words are so much more powerful than we can imagine it is important that when we pray for each other we pray that we will speak in a manner worthy of Christ. Paul understood this concept and even though he was one of the greatest theologians of his time he knew he must depend on God for his words. How often do you purposely consider your need for God to be in control of your speech?