I was reading Colossians 4 this morning and the idea of community or lack of community was really impressed upon me. Here is Paul who is writing from prison to a church that he barely knows and he is talking to them like family. He sent his final greetings to them and let them know of all the people who were been praying steadfastly for them and even people who did not know them that were praying and struggling for them. Paul, who was in prison, seemed to care more about his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than we do today. He wasn’t thinking of himself, well maybe he was a little, but he was continually praying for and thinking of the church.
I don’t know about you but I find that it is very difficult to continue thinking about others unless I am fully immersed in it. When I have time to myself I find that I am focused on myself rather than other people. Sure I may have good intentions of being there for people or of being involved in people’s lives, but unless I am actively doing it these things tend to fall to the wayside. I need to be intentional in order to keep caring for others and being there for them. I need to be intentional with my prayers and my thoughts.
As a community we need to learn to be more intentional with our lives. Satan wants to make things all about us, because he will do anything to keep us from worshipping God and from loving others. If he can do these two things he knows that the advancement of the Kingdom will slow down greatly. Could you even imagine if everyone prayed for their fellow Christians as Epaphras did who was “always struggling on your (the Colossians) behalf” (Col. 4:12)? His desire was to see them stand strong and to be mature in Christ. We could all take a lesson from Paul and his brothers and sisters who knew what it meant to struggle and yet to still pray. They knew what it meant to love and to prayerfully petition for the strength and encouragement of their family, even those they did not know.
I become distracted so easily, but I need community. Without community I become completely self-centered rather than God centered. I need to keep focused in pray fervently for my fellow Christians now more than ever. I need to pray for the lost and the persecuted now more than ever. The world is filled with so much evil and there is no amount of war or fighting that will ever rid the world of the evil; prayer is the only thing that will work. I don’t think that I am praying enough…are you? We are much stronger together in Christ than we will ever be alone.
If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.
Have you ever thought hard about what it means to be like Jesus? About what it really means to be a follower of Christ? I know that for me I have great intentions, but let’s face it, if Jesus only came with great intentions then we would all be eternally lost. Luckily for us though Jesus was not just a man of intentions, He was and is a man of action. He did not only pray, He acted. Jesus lived His life in worship. He regularly spoke with the Father, He did as the Father told him, He joined together with what God was doing.
As we continue through the book of 1 John we are forced to face the following reality; “whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 Jn. 2:6). As these words strike us to our core we are invited to join in with what God is doing, because that is exactly what Jesus does, He joins in with what the Father is doing. But what exactly does that look like? I would challenge you in that it probably looks a lot differently than how we are currently living. The following gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to “walk as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:1-11, New International Version (NIV)
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
We are reminded that we must follow our Father in complete obedience in order to say that we know the Father. If we say that we know Him, but do not follow His commands then we are liars and are not in Him. At first glance it seems impossible that any of us should be able to know that we are in the Father, but we must not forget that Jesus Christ truly is the “Righteous One” and has come to advocate for us on our behalf. You see God’s standard is so great that none of us could ever live up to it. There is only one, the “Righteous One”, who can live up to God’s standard and He laid down His life so that we too could inherit the Kingdom of God.
As we continue to deepen our knowledge and understanding of Christ we must submit more and more of our lives to Him. As the Holy Spirit reveals to us sin that is in our life, things that keep us from God, we are given a choice to choose God or to choose ourselves and effectively Satan. When we choose to obey we are are making love complete through our actions, we are saying that we would do anything to be with God. Sin keeps us from God by keeping us focused on ourselves. Sin is enticing and promises to bring life, but instead it brings death, it is counterfeit to the life that following God in obedience brings into our lives. The reason that we are often times so lonely and unhappy has nothing to do with the amount of wealth that we have or the number of friends that we have, or any other perceived necessity of happiness that we desire. Instead we are unhappy because we are not obeying God who has laid before us the path of Righteousness that leads to life.
Matthew 7:13-14, NIV
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
We must be obedient in all things because the gate is small and road is narrow that leads us to life. We must quit allowing ourselves to be deceived by the things of this world that stake claim to happiness, but lead to death. We must be filled with love and compassion for one another and walk boldly together lest anyone of us find ourselves alone when we fall, unable to get back up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Love your brother and stand firmly beside one another for the one “who claims to be in the light, but hates his brother is still in the darkness” (1 Jn. 2:9). Walk in love and extol the Lord in all that you do. Encourage each other daily and do not be a stumbling block for other. Pray for one another and petition the Lord on each other’s behalf for it is written “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). We are given power and authority to do what Jesus did and most of the time we don’t even recognize it. We walk around unhappy and hurt, we see other people under attack by the enemy yet we do nothing about it. We must follow the path of Righteousness in words and in deed, just like Jesus did and continues to do today.