WHAT IS A DEVOTIONAL?
Gordon E. Johnson
Rio Grande Bible Institute
"Christ in You the Hope of Glory"
Paul's Ardent Prayer Becomes Ours to Pray #1
Colossians 1: 9-14
A devotional is a short meditation with an application of the truths of God's Word to your heart and life. Its purpose is to instruct, encourage and possibly rebuke areas of life not in accordance with God‘s perfect will. Therefore, as you read the brief devotionals with your Bible open, follow along as the truths unfold, open your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to do his work of grace. You might want to download the study and meditate later on its truths.
As you meditate and retain the studies, you will begin to grasp the wonder of Paul's epistle: Christ in you the hope of glory. The goal is Christ likeness in character and conduct. Each study will be followed by thoughts to ponder and brief responses to record, as you feel free to do so.
The major theme of Colossians is Christ in you, the hope of Glory and our union with Christ in death to sin and resurrection life in Christ.
Paul begins his letter to the Colossians with a greeting (1:1-8) and prayer (9-14). Here is a prayer that you can pray for yourself. Often we don't know how to pray or what to pray for. One secret is to find biblical prayers, such as this one, and pray through it on your knees before the Lord. You can be absolutely sure that you are praying according to the will of God. God will answer that prayer, given your "walking in the light" (1 John 1:5-7).
Paul gives thanks for the Colossian believers whom he has never seen in person, but his heart is open to them (2:1). He does not begin to pray for material things, healing, physical needs but rather for their urgent need for a "knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (9). This is a personal experiential knowledge. After a heart knowledge, our greatest need is a daily walk, our conduct in thought, word and deed (10).
Now through God our walk can become "worthy," not in the sense of our goodness, but in greater accord with God's own character (10) This will be a daily walk, being strengthened by the glorious power of God available to us (11). This power is to the end that we will suffer joyfully in our walk in a hostile world (12).
Paul is telling us that the Christian walk will be a combination of suffering and giving thanks; we will share his suffering and that of all saints. God does not promise us an easy road but rather strength for the road before us. To suffer for Christ is a high honor (1:24). This is our inheritance. To receive an inheritance is always a reason for thankfulness. God will turn our trials into triumphs.
Now we come to the how this prayer can be answered in our lives. It will not be by our trying to imitate Christ, but rather realizing several glorious facts already completed:
1). At the Cross he delivered us, once and for all, from the power of darkness (13a). Satan and his world have been conquered (2:15). His past control and influence have been broken. We are no longer his subjects; now see the positive side:
2). We have been definitely translated out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love (13b).
Our sad past, whatever it may have been, no longer needs to govern and limit us. No matter what our sins or inheritance may have been of abuse, sexual, verbal or physical. We are now in Christ and Christ lives in us; the power of his kingdom is more than sufficient. This transference occurred in the past at the Cross, in the very moment we trusted in Christ as our Savior. It is ours to believe and take hold of. God says it and I believe it.
Finally, we have full forgiveness of sins (present tense), redemption through his blood
(14). This prayer, then, is not only a call to a new walk but rather God has made every provision for its reality in our lives. He took us out of Adam and all our weakness and failure and he placed us in the kingdom of the Son of his love.
Let us take hold by faith and walk in accord with God's will expressed so eloquently in this prayer. Let us always affirm and believe what God says.
Points to Ponder
Three requisites for a devotional are
Have you prayed Paul's prayer at least twice? ........
A thought question: If God translated us into his kingdom once and for all, what is our heart response to be: faith and confidence in his Word and work or our best efforts to imitate and try to be like Christ?