Colossians 4:2-3 (NLT)
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains.”
There are so many words that jump out at me in this passage: devote, prayer, alert, thankful, mysterious, and chains. Let’s think about what it means to be devoted to something. The dictionary says that to “devote” means “to give all or a large part of one’s resources to a person, activity, or cause.” Notice Paul does not say, “Devote all your money to me!” as we have so often heard from false preachers. He wants the early believers to spend as much of their time in prayer as possible. The word “alert” reminds us of the spiritual battle going on. Being alert in prayer is exactly what the disciples failed at in Gethsemane when Jesus asked them to pray and they fell asleep.
A thankful heart is an interesting juxtaposition to the last word of these sentences: chains. If a key leader of your movement is thrown in prison and your life could be next, thankful may not be where you are at in that moment. This is where the word “mysterious” comes in. Paul is reminding his readers that God has a plan, and it may look like everything is going wrong, but it isn’t. Jesus’ plan for salvation was a mysterious one, and his plan for the spread of the Gospel is no different. Paul is perfectly willing to be thrown into prison for it.
Here’s your freedom for today: thankfulness is a reminder that God is winning. Are you in the midst of trying to do what God wants but you feel like you keep hitting walls? Are you doubting whether you can stay in the fight? Are you looking at your chains thinking this is the end of the line? Well God is winning. The battle around you might be failing, and you might be losing, but he will win in your life if you have given it to him. You might lose some earthly things, but you are on an eternal journey that cannot be stolen. Thankfulness is a way to connect with the reality of your spiritual victory.