Summary: A messeage about living a committed Christian life.
A number of years ago Norman Cousins wrote an editorial …. in which he reported a conversation he had on a trip in India. He was talking with a Hindu priest named Satis Prasad. The man said he wanted to come to our country to work as a missionary among the Americans. Cousins assumed that he meant that he wanted to convert Americans to the Hindu religion, but when asked, Satis Prasad said, "Oh no, I would like to convert them to the Christian religion. Christianity cannot survive in the abstract. It needs not membership, but believers. The people of your country may claim they believe in Christianity, but from what I read at this distance, Christianity is more a custom than anything else. I would ask that either you accept the teachings of Jesus in your everyday life and in your affairs as a nation, or stop invoking His name as a sanction for everything you do. I want to help save Christianity for the Christian."
One of the great tragedies of today’s society is the lack of commitment to anything.
One of the greatest needs of the church is for mature Christians who are committed to growing in the Lord.
Here in Colossians 2:1-7, the Lord shows us what a mature and committed servant of God looks like.
Paul writes in Col. 2:1 ……..
“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.”
Paul says “I am struggling for you”.
Paul wanted these people to know the depth of his love and concern for them.
He had a real pastor’s heart for other believers.
Even mature Christians need leaders who struggle in prayer and concern for them.
Having mature leadership is one of the best ways for God’s people to attain further maturity.
A half-hearted, half-committed pastor-leader will probably produce half-hearted, half-committed people.
As Paul uses the word “struggle” here, he means that he is striving, agonizing, …and wrestling in prayer for other believers….that they might grow and mature in the Lord.
It is the picture of an athlete exerting every ounce of energy he has in the struggle of the contest.
Prayer is not easy….. it is work,…in fact it is demanding and difficult work.
If you take prayer seriously, you know from experience that it is a struggle.
When you are serious about praying, you’ll find that your thoughts will sometimes wander.
You’ll find that your thoughts will struggle against your desire to be obedient in prayer. Your old nature will stick up its ugly head.
You will imagine things….while trying to concentrate on praying.
Pride will try to come into your prayers so that something other than God is exalted.
Your work schedule will seem to usurp your prayer schedule.
Your desire for leisure time will seem to interfere with your prayer time.
But we have the Spirit of God within us…we have a new nature within us…consequently we have the power within us to overcome any such distractions and the influences of the evil one.
We will have victory over such things as we persevere in a life of commitment to the Lord.
In fact, that is the will of the Lord for us.
Many Christians and churches remain immature in the Lord because they fail to labor and agonize in prayer for each other.
The Lord reveals Himself to those who constantly seek His face in prayer.
Prayer….that close communion and fellowship with the Lord…. is one of the primary ways in which God blesses His people.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
2 Chron. 7:14
“ if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”
Indeed, Paul’s struggling for God’s people shows us the depth of his love for them.
As he loved them, he had good things in mind for them.
Previously, in Col. 1:28, Paul said he wanted to “present everyone perfect in Christ.” That’s why he struggled for them in prayer.
As he struggled toward that end, Paul wrote of 4 things within today’s text that he wanted for God’s people at Colosse