Passions of a Godly Life
Faith and Prayer
Colossians 2:6-7 4:2-4
Often, we struggle with living passionately for the Lord. There are aspects of our lives that we wish were different, but we struggle to see change take place in our lives. For many of us, we have lived a lot of years in certain routines and the routine takes precedence over passion. We have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but our life has become routine or mundane. We do the things we do because we are told that “ought to” do them.
For instance, we may have a short time of devotions early in the morning or sometime during the day with some kind of a devotional booklet. But for many Christians, this has become just a “get ‘er done” activity as if it is one more thing that we can check off of our activities list for the day. There is no passion or desire, it is just like doing the dishes, we have to do them just so we can get on with doing other things in our day. Don’t get me wrong, we may say our heart belongs to Jesus, but for many believers, their spiritual life is dry and unfulfilling. We no longer have a passion for the Lord, then we begin to wonder if we ever had one in the first place.
The book of Colossians tells me that I can become captive to the traditions and philosophies of man that are not according to Christ (2:8). Now I realize that Paul is dealing with some heretical teaching that was influencing the believers in Colossae. Certainly, our passion for the Lord dissipates when heretical teachings become a part of our lives. Like heretical teachings, our routines and practices, as biblical as they are, can rob us of our passion for the Lord. In other words, I can become captive to something that becomes meaningless to my spiritual life, even though it is supposed to be meaningful to my walk with the Lord. Does that make sense?
For instance, I can allow my devotions, my weekly trip to church, my listening to godly music, or any other activity that pertains to my spirituality become a routine, mundane, and meaningless activity. It is not that what we are doing is bad, it has just become meaningless and ritualistic.
Colossians tells us that we need to be completely filled with Christ (2:9-10). We are told to seek the things of Christ, set our minds on Him, because our life is hidden in Christ (3:1-4). We are told that the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ (2:3). These kinds of statements indicate that this life we have in Christ is something that has passion. Something that empowers our lives. Something that brings joy and fulfillment, not deadness.
I would encourage you to read the book of Colossians in one sitting and begin to absorb what it is saying. It will take about 10-15 minutes to just read through it and say to yourself, “I got that done, now what?” But I would encourage you to not just read it but take time to absorb what it is saying to you. I dare you to spend one-hour mulling through this short book and meditating on what it is saying to us about our life in Christ.
Faith with Passion (Colossians 2:6-7)
What you will find might surprise you. Because it does talk about routines and practices that should be a part of our lives, it gives us structure for our homes, it tells us how Christ should have the preeminence in our lives, and it talks about putting sin to death. These are all practices of the Christian life. But somehow in the midst of these routine practices we can have a fulfilled life not routine deadness. For instance, look at Colossians 2:6-7.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Let’s break these two verses down. “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” How did we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior? We receive Jesus by faith. So according to this verse, now we walk in faith. Walk is really a beautiful way to describe doing life. How we live each day of our lives. The routines and practices we involve ourselves with. In other words, my life, my walk, should be lived each day in the context of my faith in Him, my trust in Him, and my conviction of His power to save me. Jesus is my life. “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
Then it says, “rooted” in Him. My life is rooted in my faith in Jesus. Like the flowers we plant in our gardens. They grow roots into the soil to find moisture, nourishment, and strength. Much like that, our lives are rooted in Christ. Nourishment, empowerment, fulfillment, and growth comes from a life with its roots buried deeply into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is my life source, He is my stability, and he is my strength.
~ Built Up
My life is “built up” in Him. There is growth, change, maturity and purpose found in Jesus. Like when we see a building project going from foundation to framework, to roofing, siding, interior finishing, and so on, my life is a continual building project. My life in Christ is continually changing, shaping, and producing its fruit in me. The foundation, where the roots find their life source never changes, but I continually grow and change in how I live my life.
Then it says that my life is “established” in my faith in Jesus. I become sure of who I am in Christ and my faith no longer wavers. No matter what trial of life comes against me, I am established in my faith. The trials of life, the temptations, the persecution, or whatever comes against me never shakes my faith. My life is established in Jesus Christ.
The natural result of a life lived out in faith is “abounding in thanksgiving.” This word “abounding” is interesting because it tells me that this is not just a set amount of thanksgiving, this is thanksgiving that is over the top and beyond measure. It is not a full cup; it is a cup that has been over filled and is abundantly overflowing. I love listening to the men praying on Wednesday afternooons. I do not think I have heard any of them praying without a statement of thanks to God for something. Boy is it powerful to hear people giving thanks to God.
Rooted, built up, established, and abounding. I think all of us want this kind of faith. In fact, recently someone said to me, “I envy that kind of faith,” referring to the faith I had in the Word of God. I honestly believe that deep down inside we want a faith that we are passionate about, one that makes us alive, not feeling dry or dead. That’s the kind of faith that this person was envious of. This person was well acquainted with the dead, lifeless faith of many Christians. You know what I am talking about don’t you? It is a faith that says, “I believe,” but has no real evidence of that belief in their life. This person I was talking to understood that this is not genuine faith. Even they recognized that genuine faith develops a passion and love that is unquenchable in a person’s life.
But let me ask you something. What do you think we need to do to have the kind of faith being described in Colossians 2:6-7? Do? Yes, there are things we need to do. We need to be digging deeply into the Word of God and rooting our faith in its truths, receiving the nutrients and strength needed to live out our faith. We need to make commitments, set goals, and strive to grow in our faith as we are built up in Him. We need to begin routines that help us live our lives each day established in Him.
You say, but don’t the practices and routines become dead and lifeless? I am here to tell you that God never desires that the routines and practices we develop in our lives to become mundane, unfulfilling, or dry. Rather, they are to be full of life and purpose causing us to live in an overflowing state of thanksgiving. Our faith is alive. How can we have a faith that is alive? I believe there are many things that we can do, but today I want to talk about what I consider to be the most important thing we can do.
Prayer with Passion (Colossians 4:2-4)
I believe the most important thing we can do that will bring not just life to our relationship with the Lord, but it will develop our passion for Him . . . is prayer. Automatically, we want to say, but that is one of those things that becomes dead and routine, isn’t it? Do we have a hard time listening when someone else prays, do we repeat the same prayers over and over for our meals, do we struggle going to pray meetings or extended times of prayer in the worship service? We may set aside a few minutes to pray each morning but soon our minds are on the things of the day. How can prayer bring passion and life into my relationship with the Lord?
Can I illustrate it in a marriage relationship? Every marriage counselor will tell you that one of the requirements in maintaining a good marriage relationship is communication. When communication stops, the relationship dies. Have you heard of couples who are in the routine of sitting down to a prepared meal together, but no longer talk to each other? Often, I look around when we are at a restaurant and there have been times that I have spotted couples eating together and they say nothing to each other. I know they can talk because they gave their order to the waitress. But then they sit in silence for the rest of the time. It appears that the marriage relationship is dead and lifeless. They might say they are married to each other, but in reality, the passion is gone. It may have been there at one time, but it is no longer a part of their relationship.
For many Christians, that is what their relationship with Jesus Christ is like. They may say they are in a relationship with the Lord, but it is dead and lifeless. We could even debate whether salvation is genuine because there is no passion in the relationship.
They may even have many of the routines and practices that are talked about in Scripture, but no passion in the relationship. One of the reasons for that is that there is no communication.
Turn with me to Colossians 4. After Paul talked about the routines and structure of the family at the end of chapter 3, he turns to prayer, our communication with God.
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 -- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
“Continue steadfastly” means exactly what you think it means. It is the Greek word προσκαρτερέω (proskartereo). It means to continually devote, to be persistent, to have it close at hand continually, to cling to it, or to hold fast to it. Often our inclination when we read the words “continue steadfastly,” we see it as a routine or practice that we are faithful to. But that is not God’s intention. This is not talking about a 6 am meeting with God for 5 minutes every day faithfully or even a quickie before each and every meal.
This is talking about a lifestyle. It is like breathing, eating, walking, or talking. It is not something you only do when there is an emergency or life altering crisis. Prayer is who we are and what we do on a continual basis. The Apostle Paul exhorts the Thessalonian believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” He is not talking about being on our knees in our prayer closet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He is not talking about dead lifeless routines; it is who we are.
Like in a marriage, if you don’t talk to your spouse, you will either be miserable or lifeless. Prayer is our life, it is who we are, it is what we do, and it is our joy to do it because it brings fulfillment. Continuing steadfastly means we should never stop communicating with our God.
We are to pray “being watchful in it” it says. This is another one of those cool words. In the original language it is γρηγορεύω (gray-gor-yoo'-o) and means to watch with strict attention, continual caution, or diligently keep watch over something.
Is there something you have cared about so much that you watched over it with strictest attention to detail? Maybe an ailing parent or a child that is sick? Maybe a garden where you are growing prize flowers or vegetables? Trying to protect your prizes from the deer and racoons. Maybe you were watchful when you were trying to learn a new skill or technique that someone is teaching you? I would dare say that if you have a gold bar, you would be watchful over it. But the idea is that you are paying close attention to the details, whether it is someone who is sick, something you prize, or something you want. In other words, you are passionate about the details of what you are watching over. The ideas of protection, concern, and making sure that it is being taken care of in detail. You are passionate about it!
Consider for a moment the prayers of Jesus recorded for us in Scripture. We have several: at His baptism, at His transfiguration, prayer for His followers, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and even on the cross. Jesus always prayed with “watchfulness.” In other words, He prayed with passionate concern over the details of life, both His life and the lives of those who followed Him. His prayers were certainly not dead and lifeless.
Prayer is not supposed not dead and lifeless. Prayer was not something He took glibly. Prayer was a passionate communication to the Father concerning the details of His life. We even found in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus instructs us that our prayers should not be meaningless repetitions. We are to pray steadfastly, dedicating ourselves to a lifestyle of prayer. We are to pray with watchfulness, with passionate concern over our communication with God.
Then our verse says, “with thanksgiving.” Oh, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? Colossians 2 said our faith should abound with thanksgiving. It is thankfulness that is overflowing the cup. Here it doesn’t use the word “abounding,” but we know that we only express gratitude when our heart is full and overflowing with thanksgiving. Our prayer lives should be filled with thanksgiving.
What do we have to be thankful for? I would bet that you could start writing down something you are thankful for every day and easily have something different for each day of the year. When we express gratitude to someone, it reveals something about the relationship we have with that person. This is true with our relationship with God. When we are thankful, it shows Him our dependence, our humility, our love, and our passion for Him.
Then Paul makes a request of the believers in Colossae. He asks them to pray for him. Notice it is a call for intercession. Specifically, Paul asks that they pray for an open door to declare Jesus Christ to people. Our prayer life often focuses on our problems, our desires, and our lives, but really, our prayer life should be full of intercessory prayer. Praying for other people. This is why we have a prayer chain. This is why we have a prayer list for prayer meeting. We intercede for the needs of others, not just because we care for them, but because we are passionate about a God who can meet those needs.
While Jesus was on earth, He prayed for His disciples and in particular Peter. He prayed for Jerusalem. He prayed for those who killed Him. We are even told in Romans 8 that Jesus prays today in intercession for us. Like Jesus, we should be passionate in our prayers for others. My hope is that every person on the prayer chain is passionate about praying for the needs of others we list there. I imagine people hearts reaching up to the Father with genuine concern for these that have great needs. That it is not just a one and done prayer, but a prayer that comes from a passionate heart of concern for those in need and a heart of love for the Father who can meet those needs.
Listen, if you have a passionate faith for Jesus, you will have a passionate prayer life. Why do I say that? Because prayer is the communication line to our Father in Heaven. F.B. Meyer has said, "The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but un-offered prayer." I would agree! But an even bigger tragedy is for a person to think they have saving faith and never communicate with the God who has saved them.
I believe prayer is a practice and routine, but it is to be so much more than that. Not only should you have an uninterrupted time when you can get alone with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word, but all day long talking to the Father and seeking His wisdom in the daily activities of life. Prayer is not a daily “one and done” activity. Prayer is our communication line to our God that is continual.
If we find our prayer life, our godly activities like devotions and going to church, dead and lifeless, then we need to find out why. Maybe our faith is not genuine, maybe we have allowed other things to take preeminence in our lives. Maybe sin is robbing us of our passion. God never intended for our walk of faith be dead, routine, meaningless. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Is there something we treasure more than God?
When we see Jesus as our treasure, when we love Him supremely, we become passionate about our life in Him. We become passionate in our prayer.