4 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Colossians 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
“Epaphras… he is always wrestling in prayer for you…”
Prayer is an essential aspect of our spiritual life. This is not the “I’m in trouble, get me out of here” type of prayers but the meaningful daily life giving aspect to our relationship with Jesus. Devotion to our prayer time is a long haul of intercession. It is speaking to the Father about the daily things we encounter to the long term burdens we carry. It is requesting Jesus to stand between us and the enemy in a battle of which we face. It is interceding to the Holy Spirit for the things of deep understanding and a where with all to stand in His strength.
The more we grow in our spiritual relationship the ways we pray, the requests we bring change. They become deeper. On many fronts, aspects of our prayers move from being centered about our wants to open to Jesus’ will and lead in our life.
Prayer is the place Jesus wrestles with us. It is the place where the Holy Spirit brings conviction about whatever is in our life or attitudes and often will not relent until we surrender. It is a persistent devotion to seeking and finding. Prayer is the place where we bring what is in our hands and open them willingly before the Father. We cannot receive anything until our hands are empty so He can give what He has.
And it’s wrestling. I love the statement about Epaphras wrestling for the Believers. His burden so great, his attention and ever on the forefront of his mind were these who needed fresh insight and strength to stand against the culture of the times and the culture of that church specifically.
As you consider your own prayer life, what are the things you’re praying for these days? What is the nature of the requests? How devoted are you to interceding daily? Paul and the men who surrounded him made an impact for the Kingdom. It was not based on their knowledge or abilities even but the foundation of that impact was rooted in prayer. They were watchful, thankful and persistent. If we want to see answers and make the same impact in our world, prayer is part of that.
Colossians 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
A very practical and important set of instructions are given here by Paul on how we should act toward nonbelievers.
Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. 6 Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.Colossians 4:5-6 HCSB
Keep in mind that this also could have included believers who stood outside sound teaching. In regards to those on the outside, we must live with wisdom. This alone is such an important ingredient to a relationship with a nonbeliever. In other words, when we live no different from the world (without wisdom) we give nonbelievers solid reasoning as to why they don’t need Jesus. It sends a message to them that Christianity is fake and powerless. People of all different depths of spiritual maturity are watching us and taking note of how we live.
Next, Paul writes about seasoning our speech. To season something is to sprinkle another ingredient to the food that adds a whole new flavor to the dish. With speech, Paul encourages both grace and salt. Think of it in terms of grace and truth. These two components working together make a powerful combination.
Look, Jesus did all this perfectly. He was wise in his conduct and he was full of grace and truth. People loved to be around Him. They flocked to Him! Do nonbelievers like to be around you, or do you give them too much salt? Are you compromising your faith and not being wise in your conduct? Pleasant and wise conversation can’t take place with a canned response. This is why Paul reminds us in verse 6 that each person has specific and peculiar needs that must be met. If we are wise and full of grace and truth, we can be confident that we will bear the image of God and testify to His Message.