Two Go-To Habits
by Mike Fox
LECTIONARY FOR SUNDAY, JULY 14 | COLOSSIANS 1:1-14
This week’s New Testament lesson comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Read full passage here. Paul does a couple things here that we can learn from and imitate.
First, Paul takes the time to say thank you. Paul affirms who the Colossians are right now – “To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ”; he says thank you for what they are doing – “we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people;” and he says thank you for who they are becoming – “ just as the gospel has been bearing fruit and growing among you since the day you heard it.”
Second, Paul prays for the church. Paul writes this letter while he is in prison, yet he doesn’t complain about his chief circumstances, he doesn’t ask for anything for himself. Paul instead asks for God to bless the church – “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.” Why? “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” How? “bearing fruit in every good work,” “growing in the knowledge of God,“ “be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” and “give joyful thanks to the Father.”
The world has a lot of problems, most of them much bigger than we are and beyond our ability to fix. It is easy to get discouraged and feel like giving up. By Paul’s example we see that we should do what we can and leave the results to God. Follow Paul’s example. No matter what our personal circumstances – prison, illness, poverty, etc. – 1) find something nice to say to those around us and 2) pray often for friends, family, and the world around us.