“We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people…”
(Colossians 1:3-4, NLT)
(Colossians 1:3-4, NLT)
PRAY. So many of our prayers are just “Give me, help me, bless me.” Here Paul and his protegee, Timothy, write to the Colossian Christians, “We always pray for you...” And what was the essence of their prayer? Thanksgiving, praising God. Other-centeredness. The focus of their prayer is to God and for “God’s people.” Notice this one word: “always.” Someone said to me, “Honestly, I don’t have any joy in reading the Bible and praying.” Well, we don’t quit taking shower just because we don’t feel joy in doing it. We need it just the same. This is my advice, “When you don’t feel like reading or praying, that’s the time to read and pray!” We need it just the same. Always. “We always pray for you.”
FAITH. “For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus…” Wonderful! This is what I always said to my students: the difference between Christian faith and other religion is that our faith is “in” Lord Jesus, the God-Man. I believe having faith in yourself in a healthy dose is good. But in terms of salvation, faith in Jesus is the ONLY way. It’s not faith in ourselves or in some religious deeds or ‘just’ faith that saved us but in the One who “purchased our freedom [with his blood] and forgave our sins” (1:14). Believe very hard and be very sincere also won’t do. We can be sincerely wrong. Once I argued with my friend that he doesn’t come for our appointment. I was about to prove him wrong but when I checked my calendar, I was one day early! I was sincere… but sincerely wrong… So, it’s not about mere faith in a higher power but in The Living One, Jesus Christ.
LOVE. “…and your love for all of God’s people…” or saints. Earlier, Paul writes, “May God our Father give you grace and peace” (1:2) and even there is no mention of God’s love for us in this verse, obviously, He does! If the Father loves us, so does the Son, Jesus Christ (inseparable, see 1:3). And the highest expression, example, and display of God’s love is “the cross” (1:20). Loving God is, therefore, the only reasonable response that we should have. So, what’s the connection? “Now I am giving you a new commandment,” said Jesus, “love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34). There is a connection here: If someone lacks fellowship with God, he or she will find it difficult to really love God’s people; and if someone does not love God’s people, he or she could not love God very much either.
Way before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her bestseller book, Eat Pray Love (2006), the Apostle Paul already wrote, Pray Faith Love (around AD 60-61). Pray always, have faith in Jesus, and love God’s people. Amen!
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.