Day 21: Life-Changing

Day 21: Life-Changing


Read Colossians 1:3-14. For further reflection, read Romans 8:5-17.

Think back over the course of your life. What event or decision would you say was pivotal or life-changing for you? What is it about that event or decision that changed the course of your life? For many people, these events may include the decision to move to another country, get married, or a change of career. For others, these kinds of reflections are tinged with sadness and regret for the split-second bad decisions that were made. Whatever these events or decisions may be, you may be able to see how these changed the course of your life in hindsight.

These decisions have significant earthly consequences and changes our lives. However, there is one decision that we make here on earth that will make a difference for our eternal fate – our response to the lordship of Christ. That changes all aspects of our lives. It changes how we view the world, how we view ourselves, and how we live in this world.

In our passage today, Paul in his usual practice, praises and thanks God for the faith of the Colossians at the beginning of his letter. The reason he provides is that he and Timothy (1:1) has heard about their faith and love for God’s people (v4-5). Faith in Christ always results in growing love for God’s people. Notice how this faith in Christ comes from – “being heard in the true message of the gospel”.

There is a famous adage – “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary”[1].  The intentions behind such an adage are noble in that it wanted to encourage good works as well as Gospel proclamation. However, in Paul’s writings, the Gospel is something that is verbally preached and heard by the receivers. It is from the reception of this preached Gospel message then that love for others arises out of it – “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world.” (v6).

It is because of their faith and growth in love that Paul and Timothy pray for them. They pray that God continues to fill them with knowledge of his will through wisdom and understanding, so that they may live a life worth of Christ. Theology (understanding and knowledge) always leads to doxology (praise of God) that motivates our orthopraxy (faithful practice). The rest of v10-12 is Paul listing out what it means to live a life worthy of the Lord.

He finally comes to the main reason behind all of what he has just written down. In v13, we see that he prays for them because God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Christ. That is a remarkable sentence the more we reflect upon it. It shows us that there are two kingdoms in this world – one of darkness and the other of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of darkness is not just fanciful storytelling in Hollywood. It is real. We are rescued from that kingdom, just as how God rescued the Israelites out of Egypt via Moses. We were slaves in the kingdom of darkness, unable to free ourselves, on our path to eternal darkness. But God comes and rescues us out of that kingdom into the kingdom of Christ, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

It is this change of allegiance in our hearts that we are able to love and serve others. It is this change that changes our eternal destiny. It is this change that gives us access to God through prayer. In light of this, a moment of reflection is called for – what do you usually pray for and why? How does that compare to Paul’s example here in our passage today? What can we do to have the same priorities as Paul in our prayers?

[1] Wrongly attributed to Francis of Assissi. He never said it.