Summary: We thank God for many things but do we thank him for the most important thing?
For several weeks now, we’ve been working our way through Paul’s prayer for the church in Colossae. And thus far, what an awesome prayer it has been.
Let’s take a look back at this prayer up to this point. How many people in your life would benefit if you prayed this prayer on their behalf?
In verses 3-4 Paul thanks God for the faith and transformed lives of the Colossian believers.
In verse 9 he asks God to give them a full knowledge of His will for their lives as well as deep spiritual understanding and wisdom.
In verse 10 he asks God to help them live for Him and to add to their ever growing knowledge of Him and His will.
In verse 11 he asks God to infuse them with His strength and to fill them with joy.
What a powerful prayer. How many of you would love for someone to pray that prayer for you? How many of you know someone you could be praying that prayer for?
Paul somewhat switches gears in the next three verses. Instead of focusing on what Paul wants God to do for them, he turns his attention to what God has already done to make all that he has asked for an ultimate reality.
Before we dive into that, let me explain what I mean by this. When an individual is truly borne again they receive the Spirit of God. He literally takes up residence in your heart. The bible refers to His Spirit as a consuming fire. It burns within the deepest recesses of your heart producing a desire within to know God intimately, and to please Him and serve Him with your life. And the more that desire is fulfilled, the stronger you become at fighting the temptation to sin because you know that it breaks His heart and grieves the Spirit that has taken up residence in your heart. That is why John wrote in 1 John 3:9 “Whoever has been borne of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been borne of God.” Now, he’s not talking about not being capable of sinning, we’re all capable of sin. What he means is, as a child of God, it is impossible to sin and not feel such a deep conviction that it eats you up inside. You see, we cannot sin, because we don’t want to sin, because it hurts too much to sin! So, when you see someone who proclaims to be a child of God living a lifestyle of sin, it’s for one of two reasons:
1) They are simply not saved. They don’t feel conviction over sin because they don’t have the Holy Spirit to convict them.
2) They have become numb to the Holy Spirits conviction which the bible refers to as quenching the spirit. This happens when a true child of God becomes so wrapped up in sin and learns to shut out that inner torment by making excuses or rationalizing.
The point is, all the wonderful things that where happening in the lives of the Colossian believers and all that Paul prayed for on their behalf are completely and solely that sovereign work of God. And that is where Paul now turns his attention in verses 12-14.
Giving thanks to the Father
Too often giving thanks is underemphasized in the prayers of God’s children. We tend to focus our thankfulness on the temporal gifts that God has provided that make our lives a little more comfortable. But, throughout scripture, you find evidence of what a truly thankful heart is thankful for. After all, Paul’s life was anything but comfortable. In fact he often suffered more in one day than most of us suffer in a lifetime. He suffered beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, imprisonments, mockings, you name it. But yet, he never failed to give thanks to God for the great things he was doing and had done. If anyone had a right to complain about what was going on in his life it was Paul. So why didn’t he? Because Paul knew God intimately. He was keenly aware that everything that happened in his life had a purpose. There are some right here in this room, I’m sure, that are probably pretty broken at this point in life and find it hard to thank God for their circumstances. I’m here to tell you, God knows and understands. All you need to do is draw near to Him, walk with Him, and let Him teach you that He has a plan for you and what ever you’re going through at this point may seem like hell but His plans are perfect. All you need to do is draw close enough to discover it.