Today we began reading Colossians. It is a passionate letter full of Paul’s love for them. The results of his genuine love are a greatly heightened concern for the spiritual well-being of the objects of that love. This concern is reflected in Paul’s prayers, “we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints”.

Epaphras has brought news of their progress (1:7), “and so, from the day we heard it”, writes Paul, “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (verses 8-10).

What a stirring message! What a challenging message! What if Paul was alive today and wrote to us like that? How wonderful to be “fully pleasing” to the Lord! He is not writing this way from past experience of them, it seems he is yet to visit them; Paul did not establish this ecclesia.

Paul then makes an even more challenging point, “He (God) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (verse 13). The kingdom exists now – in our hearts. True faith results in a clear sense of the reality of our spiritual perceptions!

Paul reminds them that they “once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, (but) he (Christ) has now reconciled (you) in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him …” (verse 22). Then Paul uses that significant two-letter word ‘if’ – don’t let us glide over it! “IF indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the gospel …” (verse 23).

May it be true of all of us that “we have not ceased to pray for” others and ourselves “asking that we may be filled with these things to such an extent that the appealing distractions of our godless world find no lodgment in our minds.