Archive | March 2015

Colossians 1:15-23

Scripture:  Colossians 1:15-23     Commentary

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it (Colossians 1:22-23a).


Christ who holds all creation together has given us a new identity. We are no longer enemies with evil thoughts and actions. We are now at peace, reconciled to God, and holy and blameless without a single fault. We did not achieve this identity; Christ gave it to us. It is the reassuring truth of the Good News.


How would my life be different if I lived fully alive to the truth that I am holy, blameless, and without a single fault? Would prayer time be more joyous? Would I worry less and laugh more? Would I stop comparing myself to others and be less critical of both them and me? Would I see myself as more capable? Would I easily pray huge, outrageous prayers—knowing that healings and blessings are “icing on the cake” because Christ has already made all believers faultless?


Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that you were pleased to live in him so that he could reconcile me to you and bring me into your presence. Grant me your grace to stand firmly in the truth of who I am in Christ. Transform my thoughts and anchor my heart to yours, so that I may live confident of your love and your joy in making me your child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Colossians 1:1-14

Scripture: Colossians 1:1-14     Commentary

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better (Colossians 1:9b-10, NLT).


Paul has not met the believers of Colossae. He knows of them through Epaphras’s report (v.7,8). Yet Paul is praying for them and has been praying for them since he learned of their faith (v.9). He thanks God for them (v.3) and prays for them to be filled with joy and thankfulness (v.11,12). The knowledgeable apostle could have made any number of requests, but he focuses on three: complete knowledge of God’s will and spiritual wisdom and understanding.


I frequently find myself tempted to comment on other believers’ lives, especially those with whom I am not personally acquainted. I rationalize it by telling myself that they will never know. Yet Paul who was “chosen by the will of God to be an apostle” (v.1) does not criticize; he prays. He prays for the believers’ complete knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding. That prayer brings about lives pleasing to the Lord, something my criticism could never produce. The next time I am tempted to pass judgment, I want to pray Paul’s simple prayer for others and for me.


Father, forgive me for wasting opportunities to pray for others. Fill me with thankfulness for their presence in the body and for the gifts that they bring. Fill us all with wisdom and understanding that we may grow together to know you better and better and be fruitful servants of your Son. In whose name we pray, Amen.

Ephesians 6:10-24

Scripture:  Ephesians 6:10-24    Commentary 6:10-20     Commentary 6:21-22     Commentary 6:23-24

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies (Ephesians 6:11-12a, NLT).


romansoldierThe challenge to love other believers and to accept them as full members of Christ’s body requires the Lord’s strength and mighty power (v.10). The evil one plots our ruin by magnifying differences between ourselves and other believers (v.13). If we buy into this evil plan, we sabotage our own standing in the body as well as the spread of the Good News (v.19). Our call is to stand firm and to resist the evil scheme of division.  The Lord equips us with his own armor as we pray in the Spirit for ourselves and other believers.


I need to ask God each day to outfit me with his armor. Only then will I be strong enough to resist the temptation to pull back from a brother or sister in Christ. Standing firm in his armor and praying for the success of my fellow soldiers, the Good News of Christ’s love and grace for us all will advance.


Father, bind your armor on me. Belt the truth of your love around me. Protect my heart with love for all. Cover my feet with your Good News, so I walk in peace with others.  Shield me with an unshakable faith in your mercy and grace for all. Strap salvation to my mind, so my thoughts march in line with yours. Equip me with an understanding of your word, and make me alert to your Spirit’s promptings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ephesians 5:21-6:9

Scripture:  Ephesians 5:21-6:9     Commentary

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21, NLT).


Paul describes four relationships: believer to believer, husband to wife, child to parent, and slave to master. He offers a guiding principle for all four: submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (v.21). One dictionary defines submit as “to stop trying to fight or resist something.”1 Christ gave up his life out of love for my fellow believers, my spouse, my children, my parents, and my superiors at work (v.25). By not fighting or resisting them, Christ is honored.


With the exception of the “masters” (v.5-8), the described relationships are among believers. Paul advises slaves to obtain their freedom if possible (1 Corinthians 7:21). If freedom cannot be obtained, slaves can regard themselves as “slaves of Christ” who do the will of God (v.6-7).

Yet among believers how does submission work? Because Christ died for and loves each believer, arguments have no place. Each interaction is an opportunity to serve Christ. Yet do I have to go along with every believer’s idea? Two principles guide me: I must be aware of my own great value to Christ, and I must remain in a loving relationship with other believers.

threepeopleBecause Christ alone is important, I can submit to another’s idea. The other believer is loved, and Christ is honored. Yet if submitting drives a wedge between us, I can “speak the truth in love” (v.4:15). This is different from insisting on my way. It means gently explaining how the other’s request is difficult for me. In this way, both believers honor each other as members of Christ body. Together we can find a way to work for and honor Christ who died for both of us.


Father, grant me the grace to submit to other believers, so Christ who died for all is honored. Forgive my selfish need to insist that others submit to me. Give me a discerning heart. Show me my need to submit as well as my need to speak the truth in love. May your Son be revered in my relationships with others. In His name, Amen.

1“submit.” 2011. (1 March 2015).