Summary: Spiritual maturity will be evident in our prayer lives and our speech.
The Walk of Maturity
In this last section of this wonderful book of Colossians we have the Apostle Paul’s final words to this church. This section speaks of the importance of spiritual maturity by giving us the two areas of our lives where spiritual maturity are evident, praying and speech.
Nothing signifies where we are with God then our prayer life and what we say about others and ourselves coincides with the effectiveness of our walk with God. Spiritual maturity is measured in how we talk to God and what we say about others.
Never underestimate the power of speech.
A judge says a few words, and a man’s life is saved or condemned. A doctor speaks a few words, and a patient either rejoices or gives up in despair. Whether the communication is oral or written, there is great power in words. I am told that for every word in Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, 125 persons lost their lives in World War II.
The power of speech is a gift from God, and it must be used the way God ordains. In the Book of James chapter 3, the tongue is compared to a bridle and a rudder, a fire and a poisonous animal, and a fruitful tree and a fountain. These three pairs of pictures teach us that the tongue has the power to direct, the power to destroy, and the power to delight. The tongue is but a little member in our bodies, but it can accomplish great things for good or for evil.
So Paul ends this wonderful letter with the walk of maturity. He gives an outline on prayer and how we talk about others. I believe that prayer focuses our actions and reactions toward other people. In other words prayer keeps us filled with the Spirit , it keeps us patient, and kind to deal with people who aren’t filled with the Spirit.
So let’s look at these two marks of maturity in our walk with God.
I. How to Pray (v.2-4)
Paul was not ashamed to ask his friends to pray for him. Even though he was an apostle, he needed prayer support for himself and his ministry. If a great Christian like Paul felt the need for prayer support, how much more do you and I need this kind of spiritual help!
Paul uses 4 words that describe a satisfying prayer life:
A. Faithful—(v.2) “continue in prayer” The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing—don’t quit on prayer. God loves to answer the prayers of His people. We should not just pray when something bad happens or pray more because we want God to do a particular thing for us.
Our prayer life should be as normal as breathing. We see prayers answered on a continual basis. We don’t just say wow look God answered that—our prayer lives should be of course it was answered because God answers prayer. He is faithful so we must be in prayer.
B. Watchful—(v.2) “watch” the word means to be cautious, give attention and to be on guard so not to be suddenly overtaken. Whenever I know I have a serious conversation coming this is my fast one sentence prayer—keep me on guard, and guard my tongue.
We must be awake and alert as we pray. The phrase “Watch and pray!” is used often in the Bible. It had its beginning in Bible history when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem:
The Bible says in Nehemiah 4:9, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them [the enemy] day and night”. Jesus used the phrase (Mark 13:33; 14:38); Paul used it too (Eph. 6:18).
C. Thankful—(v.2) “with thanksgiving” Thanksgiving is an important ingredient in successful praying (Phil. 4:6). If all we do is ask, and never thank God for His gifts, we are selfish. Sincere gratitude to God is one of the best ways to put fire into our praying.
Young people if all you ever do is ask and ask and ask to go somewhere or to do something and you never thank your parents don’t expect them to always say yes.
Just as we like to be thanked for what we do God deserves to be thanked for all He has done for us. The truth is we need to practice being thankful so we can be thankful when trouble comes.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"