Today, I want to open a window into my soul. Heart Talk. I want to show you some things in Colossians that changed my life. It’s easy to just read the Bible to read it. But it’s an amazing experience to read it to see what God is saying to you through it and then apply it. These are things I learned in Colossians that made a life-changing impact on me.
Who Jesus really is: Sunday School kid theology – born and died and did stuff
Col 1:15-18 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
First place – preeminence – paramount – the pinnacle of my devotion - align my priorities around who Jesus is
Understood my calling – to help people understand the greatness and goodness of God
Col 1:25-28 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.
What I believe is to affect how I live. That will be a battle.
Col 2:6-8 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
What we believe we do. All else is religious talk.
The power of forgiveness. I’ve needed a lot of forgiveness. Carried a lot of guilt.
Col 2:13-14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Reality of being on the winning side. Triumphed over them. A day the lights came on.
Col 2:15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. - Julius Caesar
2Cor 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
Submit to Who sets the standard.
Col 2:20-22 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
Ran into the machinery of a denomination that thought it set the standard. Came out mangled. Felt I had to perform according to man’s expectations. Crashed and burned. In a moment of the incredible presence of God I heard the words: God must love you very much. Years of anxiety poured out and the liquid love of God’s Spirit flooded my spirit.
Learned the effort of focus
Col 3:1-2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Nobody can seek the Lord for me. I have to do that myself.
There are things I must choose to do
Col 3:15-17 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
What I learned about praying:
Col 4:2-4 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
Devotion to prayer is the telling sign of a person’s seriousness about their relationship with the Lord. The reality of God in my life didn’t become a conscious factor until I began to pray consistently, daily, throughout my day. But my prayer had to mature.
From Paul I learned that God controls the outcome. Where I go. What I say. Some doors remain shut until we pray.
Prayer is alignment with God’s will –
Prayer isn’t a mechanism to control God or persuade Him to do things our way. It is the opportunity to align our hearts with His intentions. We’re praying for clarity of His purpose, wisdom to understand, strength to stand firm, confidence to rest in His ability, peace when we accept His answer. We pray in anticipation of what God will do.
But more so, prayer is designed to align us with God’s purposes as we set our interests aside for what He knows is best.
Jesus prayed in the Garden: Matt 26:39, 42 He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done."
Jesus was crying out to the Father in desperation. His struggle with the moment was crushing Him, and what He faced was overwhelming. I’ve had moments like that. So, Jesus told the Father what He felt would fix this – removing the cup. I’ve done the same thing. But the difference is, He resolved His crisis by surrendering to what the Father had planned.
So much of our prayers are telling God what to do and how to do it. He gives us that right. We can pour out our heart’s desire. We can ask whatever we want to ask. We can seek whatever we want from Him. But when we walk away from our prayer moment, before we say amen, He wants us to have surrendered the outcome to Him.
John and Tricia Tiller experienced a parent’s worst nightmare nearly a decade ago. Their three-year-old son, Eli, was playing by himself in his upstairs bedroom when things got too quiet. Tricia went into his room and Eli was nowhere to be seen. She saw a table pushed under his window. The window was open and the screen was missing. She ran over and saw Eli crumpled on the ground.
After being medevacked to the hospital, Eli fought for his life in the ICU for three weeks. He miraculously survived, but not without significant brain damage. He lost partial vision on his right side and the motor skills and muscle development on his left. He speaks with a severe stutter and walks with a pronounced limp. Yet, today, twelve-year-old Eli has a sweet spirit and a courageous attitude.
John and Tricia have thanked God countless times for saving their son, but their prayers for complete healing have gone unanswered, causing John to struggle with doubt.
He said, I began to interrogate God. “Why, God? Why did my little boy fall from that window? Why him? Why me?
Mark Batterson, who wrote this story said, “Sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them. I’m certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t pray deliverance prayers, but there are times we need to pray prevailing prayers. We need to ask God to give us the grace to sustain, the strength to stand firm, and the willpower to keep on keeping on.
“If we’re being completely honest, most of our prayers have as their chief objective our own personal comfort rather than God’s glory. We want to pray away every problem, but those shortsighted prayers would short-circuit God’s perfect plan. There are seasons and situations when we need to simply pray through.
“Can our prayers change our circumstances? Absolutely! But when our circumstances don’t change, it’s often an indication that God is trying to change us. Either way, the chief objective remains the same: to glorify God in any and every situation.”
That takes us back to the Garden and Jesus’ prayer: Father, not My will but Yours be done. You accomplish through this whatever I’m facing, whatever You know is best. I surrender the outcome to You.
That’s the maturity Paul is wanting for the Colossians when he tells them to devote themselves to prayer, He’s wanting them to commit to a daily surrender of their lives and circumstances to God – which is developed through making prayer essential in our lives. Paul is saying, “That’s how you take all I’ve told you and put it into practice.”
We’re going to have problems, troubles, crises. They are going to seem larger than God can handle. But we have to quit looking at the problem and look to God for the outcome. When we do, all we see will shrink in comparison to what God has promised to do.
Prayer is vital to letting peace rule in our hearts. One of my greatest discoveries was how truth interconnected throughout Scripture. That the dots connect.
Sometimes you have to eat your words.
Col 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
I remember the first moment Scripture became alive to me. I was sixteen, had survived a serious car accident. Had decided the direction my life was going was the wrong way and became interested in going God’s way. I read a story and suddenly knew what it was about and what needed to be said to teach it. I ran down the street to our pastor’s house and told him. He said, “God may be calling you to preach.”
Sometime later, I had the confirmation that he was right. Scripture became personal. God took a verse and said, “This is for you.”
Col 4:17 Say to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it."
That was the first verse God made personal to me. Since, I’ve found many others. But this was the first. I’ve had to use it many times to stay the course. To treasure what God has entrusted to me. On several occasions I’ve wanted to chunk it all and walk away. A few times I have. But I never I had fulfilled what God called me to do. There’s still more.
I realized I can’t control what others do. I can’t manipulate the results. All I can do is be faithful to what God called me to do. That’s my freedom.
1. Once we know we belong to the Lord, we must practice the life He’s called us to.
2. To think we can survive life without prayer and Bible reading, we are sadly mistaken.
3. Whatever God shows us in His Word, He intends for it to make a difference in our lives.
4. If we continue a casual relationship with Him, we’ll miss the value of all He’s done to provide everything we need to live full and meaningful lives.