Stepping Up January 17-22

Paul wants the Colossians to embrace Jesus and His people through selfless love. He continues this idea by giving three specific examples of how Christians should serve Jesus and His people in marriage, family, and as slaves and masters. Although we are not in the same situation as these slaves and masters, we know what it feels like to be in a situation that’s less than ideal. We’ve all been in chaotic circumstances, difficult relationships, or tough jobs.  And in all things, no matter the situation, we work for God and His glory. We know that following Jesus doesn’t guarantee us an easy life. Jesus promises the opposite. In all that we do and in every relationship, we can look to Jesus and rely on the His Spirit to help us step up in love.

Day 1      Colossians 3:18-4:1

Reflect:  How does Paul describe honoring people with whom we have relationships? Why did he consider it necessary? What do we learn about God through the relationships He gives?

Apply:   If you commit to do everything for God’s glory, how would your relationships change in your home, at work, school, etc.? How would “submit, love and obey” be put into practice?

Pray:     Father, forgive me for the times that I hardly act like a disciple of Jesus. Work in my heart and attitudes so that I might reflect your glory in my home and workplace.

Day 2     Colossians 4:2-4

Reflect:  Would Paul consider prayer an offensive or defensive strategy? What about your current approach to prayer? What do you learn from Paul about how to approach praying?

Apply:   Are your prayers more “me” centered or more “we” centered? Turn Paul’s prayer request into a personal prayer for yourself. Who comes to mind when you pray verse 3?

Pray:    Lord, take the messiness of my life and this world and make of it a street-level sanctuary   of the holy mystery of Christ for our good and Your glory.

Day 3       Colossians 4:5-6

Reflect:  What is the “opportunity” to which Paul is referring? What do you think being “seasoned with salt” means? Consider this—what about salt makes food more satisfying?

Apply:   Remember Paul’s words: Christ in you. How does that truth impact Paul’s words? Would unbelievers in your life be attracted to Jesus based on your actions and words?

Pray:    God, Your people break Your heart when we wound and drive unbelievers away with        thoughtless talk and unkind posts on social media. Use our lives and words to open     people’s hearts to Jesus.

Day 4     Colossians 4:7-18 

Reflect:   What do you learn from the requests and commendations Paul gives in his closing? Why are words like these so needed? What would verse 18 mean to the people reading this?

Apply:   Who do you consider your fellow workers in the faith and ministry? What words of encouragement could you give them? Consider doing this. What would they say of you?

Pray:    Lord, awaken me to the holy calling to band with a few for the sake of the many around me. Give Your church compassion and conviction to courageously stand for grace and truth.

Day 5    Romans 13:8-10  

Reflect: In your own words, rephrase the concept Paul is conveying. What point is Paul making by listing the commandments in verses 9-10? Why is this love so hard?

Apply:  If you considered love a mindset, an attitude, a disposition, how would your behavior change for the good of others?

Pray:    God, thank You for loving me even when I’m at my most unlovable. Give me a generous heart filled with Your love that flows out to those around me.