Christ’s Preeminence Displayed in Our Witness and Service: Col. 4:2-18
We have come to the end of our exploration of Colossians and what it means for Christ to be preeminent in our lives. As we look at Paul’s final instructions to the Colossians, I think that it is important to understand that making Christ preeminent in our lives and ministry is not some goal to be achieved. It is a manner of living. As sinners, our natures will constantly be at war with the preeminence of Jesus, seeking to elevate us to throne of our hearts. Thus, it is imperative that we always stay vigilant in this area, constantly checking our attitudes and motives in everything we do. In fact, this week’s passage starts with the Greek word proskartereo, which can be translated “to attend constantly; stand ready.” So, how do we stay vigilant about keeping Christ preeminent in our lives?
- Pray. If you’re like me, it’s easy to find yourself running on “autopilot.” I often treat God as if I’ve got everything under control; I’ll get back to Him when/if I need something. That attitude ignores the preeminence of Christ and relegates Him to a place of being an emergency back up plan. Basically, I’m telling Christ, “Thanks for getting me out of hell. I can handle it from here.” Making time for prayer in our lives re-orients our hearts and priorities. The more time we spend communing with Jesus, the more we fall in love with Him. The more we fall in love with Him, the more willing we are to surrender to His preeminence.
- Be thankful. Thankfulness is such an amazing tool for heart transformation. Nothing has more power to transform our attitudes than thankfulness. Doubt, fear, worry, and busyness cloud our hearts and minds, driving us towards selfishness. Thankfulness corrects our course, shifting our focus from ourselves and our problems to the gracious goodness of our Savior. That’s what allowed Paul to be focused on proclaiming the gospel while in prison and facing death.
- Live evangelistically. If Christ is truly preeminent in your life, then the things that are important to Him will be important to you. Remember, Christ is the Good Shepherd, who left the 99 in search of the 1. He’s not willing that any of those lost sheep perish. He wants all of them to come to repentance. If Christ is truly preeminent in our lives, we will have that same heart for the lost.
- Speak graciously. There’s not much of this going on right now, even in the Church. As the beneficiaries of grace, it is our duty to extend that grace to others. The Church is supposed to be a force for kindness, gentleness, reasonableness, mercy, and peace in our world (Jas. 3:13-18). When we speak to each other and the lost with the same rancor that is displayed by the world, we have lost sight of our mission and calling, and we lose our influence. However, when our speech is characterized by grace, we bring calm and peace to even the most difficult of circumstances. We disarm hostilities. Really, we bring Christ into the situation.
- Which of the 4 keys listed above do you struggle with the most? Why do you think that is?
- In difficult times like this, it is easy to fall into the mindset of being impatient for the return of Christ. But stop and think for a moment. What if you were the 1 sheep instead of a member of the 99? Would that change your attitude?
- Examine how you communicate with others daily (in-person, text, social media, etc.). Is there one form of communication where you find it easier to speak graciously? Is there one form of communication where you are more likely to NOT speak graciously? If so, why? How can you change that?