October 31 – Prison Letters – Stagnation not Allowed

Read Colossians 1:1-2:1

Have you ever received a personal letter or e-mail from a complete stranger?  Have you ever written a letter like that?  If so, it likely started out with something like, “You don’t know me but . . .” or “Hi.  My name is . . .”  Those are awkward letters to write or to receive.

This letter from Paul to the Colossians is somewhat like that.  Paul, you see, had never personally met many of the recipients of the letter (2:1).  Instead, Epaphras had previously gone to them, shared the message of Christ with them, and then informed Paul of their faith in Jesus.  Paul, then, had only heard about these Christ followers in Colossae.

Writing this letter, then, was both bold and awkward.  What was it that prompted him to write?  It was a sense of responsibility.  You see, Paul had been given a stewardship . . . a commission (1:25-29).  God had given him a unique insight and responsibility.  The insight was the mystery of Jews and Gentiles united in one body, the church.  The responsibility was that of establishing believers in their faith and seeing them move to maturity (1:28, 29).

It was towards this end, the maturity of believers, that Paul wrote letters, worked, and prayed (1:9-14).  And his specific prayer for the Colossians reflects for us goals, towards which we too should be striving.  These goals include:

  1. A knowledge of God’s will (1:9).  God’s primary means of communicating His will is through His word.  Do you spend consistent time in the scriptures?
  2. A God-pleasing life (1:10).  This forces us beyond the cognitive awareness of God’s will and into the application of it.  Are you obeying what you know and serving in the opportunities God provides?
  3. A growing appreciation for God Himself (1:10-12).  As we get to know Him better, the value we ascribe to Him increases.  We begin to trust Him more and worship Him better.  Are you learning more about Him and reflecting that in deeper and more sincere worship?

There is much more to learn about ourselves as we give attention to this letter written by Paul to strangers.  But today’s challenge is a warning against stagnation.  There is so much more to learn and to apply as you pursue maturity.  Give yourselves to it!

Steve Kern

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