Big Dave faith, love, hope. Colossians 1.3-8
A prayer to start: Lord God, as we read your word this day, open our eyes to see what you would have us see, and apply it to our lives, just as the Colossians did when Paul’s letter was read to them. Amen
Paul writes, in about the year 62 A.D.~
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven
and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras*, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.”
I would like to suggest that you print out this passage, circle the words that stand out to you, and ask God to reproduce its tenets in your life.
Here’s what I see: Paul says they thank God for the faithfulness of the Colossian believers, which of course, means that he was praying for them! ‘Love that. (May I ask, for whom are you praying--that they will stay strong in their faith--that they will grow in the knowledge of the things of our God? Hmmm? Friends, we must pray fervently for our young people and our loved ones, that they might stand up against the temptations and tough situations they face, that they might ‘stay at their post’, come what may.)
There are three things that Paul notes about their lives: faith, love and hope. While his commendation is written to the Colossians, please note these are qualities that should be present and active and flowing from our Christian lives today—would you say your life is characterized by faith, hope, and love? And with consideration of the relevance of Scripture, Paul’s initial target audience lived 2000 years ago, but his writing here is no less pertinent for us today! Forget church growth plans and seminars, Friends, let’s just exemplify faith, love and hope in our hearts and lives, flowing from the grace of God—let’s make them our currency, and we will not be able to keep people away from our Christian communities!
You see, word had gotten out, and it had gotten to Paul in prison, through Epaphras and likely Timothy, that the Colossian church knew how to love and express that love in quite a contagious fashion. Because of it, spiritual fruit was being born—other folks were hearing and trusting in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well over a year ago, through a ‘chance’ meeting at my local gym, I met a young college football player, and began discussing Fellowship of Christian Athletes with him. In short order, he became one of our leaders at Sunday Night Live, the weekly San Clemente High group I lead. If you were to ask the students to use one word to describe ‘Big Dave’, it would be love. Actually, I have never met anyone quite like him, so willing to embrace with a hug and a big smile, so willing to give of himself from the love he has and lives for God. It is contagious … it spreads when he is in the room. I think he fits Paul’s description of faith and love from the faith he has . . . When I am around it, I want to be swept up in it, I want to become like him, I want others to feel and know the love that comes from faith in Christ and the hope we share in Him. Yup, Paul, I get the beautiful trio of faith, love and hope … I’ve felt it and seen it in action.
*Epaphras was a preacher of the gospel to the people in Colosse; he brought news of the church, and its goings-on to Paul, while he was imprisoned in Rome.