Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Sounds like wise words from Paul about how to approach 2017….
Being devoted to prayer.
Watchful (although I think ‘expectant’ is a better word as it is less passive).
And being thankful, expectant of God to be at work and praising him for seeing him at work.
Praying also for me, pray for each other… -interestingly if you’re a leader sometimes you can feel as though everyone’s gunning for you and very few are praying for you, Paul probably is feeling pretty low as he’s banged up in prison-, but I think the important thing here is to pray for each other, we’re a community, a family, we are meant to be carrying each others burdens, supporting one another in prayer, but too often the individualism of our culture creeps in and it becomes ‘all about us’.
Pray that God opens the door for his message, so we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, Pray for those divine appointments, real and genuine opportunities to honestly talk with people about our faith in natural and helpful ways.
For which I am an ambassador in chains -let us this new year be people that remember the persecuted Church, especially as I think the political/social landscape is changing and I think pluralistic secularisms voice is getting louder and so being a Christian is going to get tougher.
Pray I may proclaim it as clearly as I should, pray that God gives us the words to say, -that all sharing of our faith will not only be with the right heart but also spirit lead.
Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders… One of my favourite verses my friend Mark Rich quotes is “Zeal without wisdom is folly” often how we act pushes people away from Christ rathe r than drawing people towards him? So many things Churches do and individual Christians do, that is simply really unhelpful.
Making the most of every opportunity… God gives his people, both us as individuals, and collectively as his Church so many opportunities, so many I think we simply don’t see, so many we choose not to see as it sounds like a tough call “opportunities are missed because they come in work overalls”, some we think are too big for us, and some we sadly (sometimes) think are beneath us “I’m not doing that?” or “I’m not going there”. Jesus says “Open your eyes the fields are white to the harvest”
Let your conversation be always be full of grace… Some of the emails I get from Christians, some of the conversations I hear in Churches, leave me wondering “where is the grace?” and if we can’t even manage to be gracious and loving to each other as a community, why would anyone want to travel with us in following Jesus? People want to see a different community, one that loves, one that builds up, Kingdom living is attractive, let people see, hear and experience it, when we remove grace from our lives together it is like a alkali burn -its what’s not there -the absence of acid- that burns us-, sin of omission if you like.
Interestingly, our conversation needs to be always full of Grace, yet sometimes hard to find trace elements of it. Interestingly we are called to have conversations full of grace, yet also seasoned with salt. how often it is the other way around, full of salty Christian rhetoric, but no grace?
Seasoned with salt… The image of our conversations making people thirsty for Christ is an exciting image, as a parent of a young child, I realise that often we are watched and listened too even when we don’t realise it.
Also, lets not be afraid, to mention the name of Jesus, to be open and honest about our faith, and give people opportunities to talk… Seasoned with salt, unashamed of the gospel, giving people openings and opportunities for further discussion.
If your conversation is like this, then people will be drawn to you and want to explore Christ with you, so you may know how to answer everyone.