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. (Colossians 4:2-3 ESV)
There is a story about a man who encountered a great deal of trouble while flying his little airplane. He called the control tower and said, “Pilot to tower, I am 300 miles from the airport, six hundred feet above the ground, and I am out of fuel. I am descending rapidly. Please advise. Over.” The control tower responded, “Tower to pilot. Please repeat after me, ‘Our Father, Who art in heaven...’”
Sometimes in life, prayer will be all you have or all you have left but in reality, prayer should be our first choice and not our last resort. A healthy prayer life requires devotion. I want to take a look at some of the aspects of the devotion that is required.
The true path to blessing in any walk of life is to be in submission to God and His Word. To walk in obedience to God’s Word is to bring blessing, growth, and success. To ignore, disobey, or think that you have come up with a better plan or way is to bring decline, an absence of blessing, and destruction.
According to an article by Alex Strauch on Bible.org, "Hurricane Andrew was one of the worse hurricanes to hit the Caribbean Islands and Florida. After the hurricane, news reports witnessed tens of thousands of homes flattened to the ground. As they were filming, they saw one house standing. They went to that house and the owner was cleaning up the front yard. They asked, how is it that your house is standing? He said, I built this house and I followed the Florida state code for hurricanes. If the code called for 12-inch beams, I put 12-inch beams; if it called for a metal brace to the beams, I put a metal brace. I built the house according to the code and the house withstood the hurricane."
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (Colossians 3:12-13 NASB)
Everybody loves Superman. Superman is great! He can fly, he can bounce bullets off of him, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, he can apparently fly so fast around the earth that he actually moves time backward, he can even take a direct hit from a nuclear bomb and keep going. Everybody loves Superman.
A renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11 NASB)
"A young man was eager to grow in His Christian life. He got a piece of paper and made a list of all the things he would do for God. He wrote down the things he would give up, the places he would go to minister and the areas of ministry he would enter. He was excited. He took that list to the church and put it on the altar.
Anytime we engage in legalism, we put chains on Christians that Christ already broke.
Chuck Swindoll, in his book, "The Grace Awakening," tells the following story:
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8 NASB)
Magic, illusion, stage magic, street magic, is a performing art in which audiences are entertained by staged tricks or illusions of seemingly impossible feats using natural means. While it may be entertaining, it is ultimately deception. And yet so many are taken captive by it.
I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
Roots for a plant are like an anchor. They have the task of securing a plant in the ground. Through whatever conditions be it wind or rain or snow or darkness, the roots are what keep a plant anchored. It keeps it upright no matter what is thrown at it. When something comes through that is strong enough it will rip up some plants but the ones that had strong enough roots will remain standing.
Ultimately, in ministry, you are growing up and being built up in Christ-likeness and we are to be living out that Christ-likeness. It will manifest itself in our lives and in our service to Christ. We build up to and live out that Christ-likeness in 3 primary ways:
1. Instruction in the Word of God.
2. Personal study in the Word of God.
3. Engaging in Ministry (Serving of others).
True Ministry is born out of a true love for Christ.
For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. (Colossians 1:29 NASB)
Paul said that for the purpose of proclaiming Christ and seeing each saint come to be complete in Christ, he labors and strives. And the energy and the power by which he labors is found in the very person he is laboring to proclaim.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
We have seen that Paul knew the origin, the focus, and the purpose of his ministry. Now, I want to shift our attention to the point and the power of Paul's ministry.