Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Prayer Section

Colossians 1:9-14

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9-14, NIV)

Okay, vacation's over. Let’s get back to Colossians.

If your memory is good enough, you’ll remember that I said that Paul always had an ulterior motive with the Thanksgiving Section, using it to prepare people for what was coming. Well, the next section in many letters, the prayer section, also has a function or two.

For one thing, he’s going to use it to finish what he started in the Thanksgiving Section, helping them have an accepting attitude toward what he’s about to write. That’s what he’s gunning for in verse nine:

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Paul is letting them know that what he’s about to say is not just one man’s opinion, but is instead a word from God that expresses God’s will and which provides spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Slick, eh?)

Then, Paul’s going to use the prayer to tell them exactly what he hopes the letter will accomplish (verses 10-12). (More on that in a minute.)

Finally, in the conclusion of the prayer section, right before he starts the letter proper, he’s going to remind them what it’s all about, who’s really in control and who they really should serve—and why they should seriously consider what Paul is going to tell them (13-14).

Since the first part of the prayer is pretty self-explanatory, let’s move on to that purpose statement in 10-11. And what I’d like for you to notice first is how practical Paul’s purpose is.

We sometimes think God’s goal is for us to know lots of things. Nope. God only wants us to know the right things so we’ll live the right way. In every one of Paul’s letters, there is a little bit of knowledge, followed by a whole lot of practical application. We’ll get to the specifics later, but for now let me ask a simple question. When you come to a Bible study (even if it’s a blog one), what’s your goal? More knowledge or more Christ-like-ness? More information or finding ways your life can be more pleasing to God? And what difference should that make in the way you read the Bible, listen to sermons—or participate in an online Bible Blog?

6 comments:

Amanda S. said...

My ultimate goal when I go to Bible Study, or a church service, is to become more like Christ.

I think I view that time spent in the Bible as covering several areas in my life though. If I didn't desire more knowledge, I wouldn't learn more about how to become like Christ. If I didn't enjoy fellowship with other believers, I would have a hard time returning to that location in my neverending quest to grow.

I know what I said above doesn't really answer the question, as knowledge has to be more than just in my head, that it has to be action too. So I guess my answer is Christ-like-ness is my goal....long paragraphs for such a simple question!

Amanda S. said...

On a sort of similar note, I started a Bible Study with a new friend from Church today...I've got to share about how awesome it was! It was so nice to be able to sit at the table and share about people we know who need the Lord, to open our Bibles and dig away at what our lesson was about (being sure of our salvation) and at the end to spend 10 minutes in prayer for each other, for the church and for our families. I've been in large group studies for a while now, but its been at least 5 or 6 years since I've been part of a one on one study, and I'm praising God for giving me this one!

Yvonne said...

My goal in coming to a Bible study/blog is to continue learn/live how to be a disciple of God. Learning never ends. God uses different tools for teaching...pastors, fellow bloggers, ordinary people/situations. When attenting, I need to have total focus on God.

JennyT said...

The way I look at a bible study is, if don't learn anything about Christ then I will have no clue what I need to do to be more Christ like. What I have done in the past is take notes on the study then create a "To Do" list about what I have learned.
I feel that it does no good to go to church and listen to a sermon, or go to a bible study, or even read your bible, if you are just memorizing things but never apply the things you learn to your life. To me it would be like me teaching my boys to memorize the alphabet but them never learning to read and apply that knowledge to their life. So they can say thier alphabet (or quote the bible), what good is that doing if they can't read a book (or live the way God want's us to)?
Ok well speaking of reading it is time for me to get to schooling the kids.
Jenny Thornton (Ronnie's Wife, Adrian & Alex's Mom)

Dave said...

I have to agree with Amanda, Yvonne and Jenny, I go to church, and bible studies to be more like Christ. I also do these things to increase my knowledge about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, and finding ways to implement them into my life and the lives of those around me. To study the bible and not practice what you are studying just seems foolish and a big waste of time. Like Jenny said if you teach you kids the alphabet, but never teach them to read and write what can they accomplish with what they have learned, nothing. The same thing applies to following Christ. You may know the good book cover to cover, but if you don't apply it to your life then you can not accomplish the tasks that God has set before you.

richie_rich_28 said...

Hey Everyone!

I have to say that my answer would just about include all of them. I think by gaining more knowledge and information I learn to be more Christlike thus, making my life more "pleasing" to God. When I go to church or attend a study, I ALWAYS have an open mind and spirit to what is being said. I have to admit sometimes it's like trying to catch 10 gallons of water with a 1 gallon bucket. But, if what little I do grasp and retain becomes a part of my way of thinking and looking at life, then just maybe I became a little more "Christlike"

Rich Mustard