Col 4:7-18

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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Father, You’ve said elsewhere in Your Word through Paul,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV)

Here in his letter to the Colossians, he actually acts out what You’d led him to write in the letter to the Corinthians.  He shares about the various people in his life at that time who’ve been a support and comfort for him, especially while he was in prison.  Then, he sends some of the people and greetings from others in order to encourage, strengthen and comfort the portion of Your Church in Colosse.  Here’s how Paul related to his friends.  He was . . .

AFFIRMING OF THEM

How dear Paul’s friends had become!  You had given him an enormous and priceless treasure in each one.  The way in which he describes them causes me to reflect on the treasures You’ve revealed through the people You’ve placed in my life over the years:  “a dear brother,” “a faithful minister,” “fellow servant in the Lord,”  “faithful and dear brother,” “one of you,” “fellow prisoner,” “have proved a comfort to me,” “servant of Christ Jesus,” “always wrestling in prayer for you,” “working hard for you,” and “our dear friend.”  Through his words, he was able to be AFFIRMING of them, pointing out to others how You were using their lives to touch another.

THANKFUL FOR THEM

This entire portion of the letter to the Colossians has an aroma of gratitude, as it becomes very evident that Paul is THANKFUL for them.  They were “dear” to him, folks he cherished, especially in the gift of knowing them.  He considered them “faithful,” or people he knew he could count on.  He enjoyed their company as “fellow” whatever, be it “servant,” “prisoners,” or “workers.”  Paul knew and expressed how blessed he’d been by the gifts of these friends You’d supplied.

GENEROUS WITH THEM

In addition, when it came to his friends, Paul was GENEROUS with them.  He shared them with others in Your kingdom, like the Colossians.  He sent them out for purposes like “that you may know about our circumstances” and “that he may encourage Your hearts.”  He encouraged the Colossians by letting them know that one of his friends was “always wrestling in prayer for” them–with the aim that they might “stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”  (Father, remind me to pray those things for those who are dear to me!)

Father, indeed You have blessed my life with soooooooo MANY people who have been used by You in my life–much in the same ways You used these folks in Paul’s life, and some even more!  In my friendship with these people-blessings, may I be AFFIRMING of them, THANKFUL for them and GENEROUS with them.

Thanks for Paul’s example and for the reflection of Your heart in his.  Make it so others can see Jesus in me when they look at me too.  Amen.

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Colossians 3:18-4:6

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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Lord, You’ve packed into this passage a lot of what You desire for my relationships.  You’ve noted the actions and attitudes that YOU want to see govern my INTERACTION with others.  You touch on the INTERCESSION for others You call me to carry out.  You describe Your will for my COMMUNICATION with others.

INTERACTION  (3:18-4:1 NIV)

I surrender my relationships to You, Father.  Renew my attitude toward others.  Rewire my heart so that I resound with Your heartbeat as I encounter the people You’ve placed in my life.  Give me an attitude of humility, compassion, kindness … Wait!  Look!  In these verses (3:18-4:1) there’s a correlation with what You tell me to me clothed with in 3:12-14!  Cool!  You tell me how to “dress” so that I can interact among the various people in my life in a way that reflects YOU!  (Thanks for highlighting that today!)

INTERCESSION   (4:2-4 NIV)

You also point out how You value my conversations with You throughout the day, as well as when I intercede for others.  You want my devotion to talking with You in prayer.  And You call me to speak to You about the needs, joys, concerns and hopes of the others in my life.

COMMUNICATION   (4:5-6 NIV)

So … I get “dressed,” go out to be with others, chat with You about those folks; and then You give me even more direction regarding my communication with others, especially those who don’t know You yet.  You call me to wisdom in my actions and efficiency in my use of the time and opportunities You supply.  You want my conversations to be “full of grace.”  “Grace” brings to mind the thought of “getting what you don’t deserve.”  So, whether a person deserves a kind, compassionate reply or not, You want me to give it, over and over and over.  “Seasoned with salt” conveys that there’s just enough to alter the “taste” of the conversation.  Perhaps, the “salted” chats stir up a thirst within the other person, a desire to taste more of Who they’ve savored in our encounter.  (Oh! Wouldn’t THAT be a wonderful thing, Jesus?!?)

Father, You be at the center of my relationships, as I INTERACT, INTERCEDE, and COMMUNICATE.  I’m reminded of a song that was sung in my home church many years ago by someone who was only about 7 or 8 then, but who is in his much older now:

“When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?
When the world looks at me, what do they see?
Do they see hope?
Do they see love?
Do they see charity?
When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?”**
Make me just like Him, Daddy. Amen.

**(chorus of “When the World Looks at Me” as sung by Mark Mitchell of The Mitchells on We Are So Blessed)

Colossians 3:12-17

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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OH! Father, You’ve called me “chosen,” “holy,” and “dearly loved.”  How can I mean so much to You?  I am just humbled by Your never-ending love for me.

You chose me to be Yours, to call me Your own.

YOU work in me to make me holy, set apart for Your purposes.

You consider me Your beloved, one whom You dearly love.

I see You’ve laid out my clothes for today.  Oh! How I need YOU to dress me–just like a child would:

Suit me up with COMPASSION and KINDNESS like You showed when You were here on earth.

Underlying everything, make sure I have Your HUMILITY, GENTLENESS and PATIENCE.

May my second most visible garment be FORGIVENESS–I want to wear the exact style You have … even when it hurts.

And, wrap me up completely in Your LOVE–making that the first article of “clothing” seen by others I encounter.

LET the PEACE of Christ RULE …” (v 15 NIV)

LET the WORD of Christ DWELL …”  (v 16 NIV)

When I see the word “let,” I think of “make a choice to allow,” “give permission,” or “be open to.”  “Letting” involves a conscious act of my will.  Will I surrender to Peace and let it have dominion in my heart, the very core of my being?  Will I invite Your Word to take up residence in me richly, fully, completely?  Help me to LET You do as You want to do in all of me, Lord.

As You work all these things in me, create in me an abiding attitude of gratitude.  Help my words and actions all be done in Your name and be what brings joy to Your heart.  Keep making me just like Jesus, Daddy.  Amen.

Colossians 2:20-3:11

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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“SINCE YOU DIED WITH CHRIST to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules … ?” (2:20 NIV)

“… regulations…lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (2:23 NIV)

“SINCE, then, YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST … who is your life…… Put to death, therefore, WHATEVER belongs to your earthly nature … You must rid yourselves of all such things … (3:1-8 NIV)

“… you have TAKEN OFF YOUR OLD SELF with its practices and have PUT ON THE NEW SELF, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  (3:9-10 NIV)

When I became Your child, Father, it was my choice to leave behind who I had been so that I might become who I could be in Christ.  My old self died and it was buried with Jesus in my baptism.  You raised me up by Your power, which renews and restores life.  Because that old me is dead, all that used to be part of my life is to be gone.  My grave clothes are to be left in the casket, as each day I’m to put on the clothes from Your wardrobe.  Your clothes are different from this world’s–those I used to wear.  Yours are fitted from the inside out.  They enhance my character, my mind, and my heart first, and then my outer appearance is altered.

You have commanded some things which I need Your constant help to obey:  In view of the fact that (“since”) I have been raised with Christ, You command me to SET MY HEART ON THINGS ABOVE, to SET MY MIND ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT on earthly things.  You remind me that the reason You call me to this step of obedience is because I died and now Christ is my life.  I am not my own; I was bought at a price.  Some say, “Basketball is my life” or “my kids are my life” or “[my career–whatever it is] is my life” etc.  But how much more fulfilling and truly life-giving to be able to say, know, and experience that “Christ is my life”–nothing else could come close to satisfying like You can.  When I allow You to permeate my entire existence, that’s when praise comes forth like breathing; when reading Your Word becomes the only way to satisfy my hunger; when love, mercy and forgiveness become second nature; when I’m vitally aware of Your constant, fully-attentive presence…

Here’s another way of putting the first four verses of chapter three (from The Message):

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, ACT like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you [like people, things, jobs, to-do’s, school, etc.]. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ –that’s where the action is. See things from HIS perspective.”

Father, ring out this cloth called me, who CAN become absorbed with and consumed by the people in my life, the tasks to be done, the things You’ve given me, the concerns of each day. Twist, ring out, empty me of all of that.  Then, dip this cloth, which bears Your designer-label, into Your living water and soak me with You.  Make me just like Jesus–my life, my all in all!  Amen.

Colossians 2:13-19

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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Just look, Father!  There are glimpses into who You are and what You do right here in these few verses, like snapshots of Your character:

“GOD MADE ME ALIVE WITH CHRIST”  (v 13 NIV)

Lord, I remember a swimming pool You allowed me to enjoy several years ago.  There was a time when the pool became full of algae and other things.  Some of us swam in it once when it was like that.  (I still remember putting my foot into a big glob of algae on the wall in the deep end — AAAK!)  Eventually it had to be drained and the surfaces scraped clean.  Then, new, clean water could be put back into it.  After the whole task was done, we could swim without concern in the fresh water.  The pool had been made alive again with our splashing, diving, swimming and playing.

When I was dead in my sins and swimming in my sinful nature, You chose to clean me up, to remove the scum in me and to fill me up with Your Son, Jesus!  Thanks so much for life in Him!!

“HE FORGAVE ME ALL MY SINS” (v 13 NIV)

Much like an accused person standing before a judge in a courtroom, hearing the charges against her being read, there was a list of charges against me.  Over and over I had fallen short of Your design for me, of Your will for me.  You took that list of charges, Lord, and tattooed them on the body of You Son.  Then, You allowed that list to be nailed to the cross as Jesus was crucified.  The payment I owed for those charges against me was my own death; but when my “eyes” look to Jesus on the cross, the only message visible is “PAID IN FULL.”  And from His lips, He spoke to You about me:  “Father, forgive them…”

Thank You for forgiving ALL my sins.  Lord, instill in me an ever-growing desire to refuse to play with sin.  Make it more important to me to be holy than to be “comfy,” to be blameless than to be accepted, to have Your will as my aim when I go out and about instead of just fun and good times.  You have said, “Be holy as You are holy.”  And You say that You are the One who makes me holy, that You work all things for my good, that You’ve come to give me life abundantly.  So, if I choose to pursue good times here on my own, I miss out on the best times that sticking close to You can bring.  Give me a double-order of the kind of true fun there is in living my life with You making the plans and guiding my choices.

“HAVING DISARMED THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES”  (v 15 NIV)

There is NONE like You, Father.  You are all-powerful, majestic, glorious, the great God and ruler of all creation.  AND YOU are my Daddy!  That’s SO cool!!

Nothing can harm me; nothing can separate me from Your love for me.  The ruler of this world has no weapon that can take me out because You are my shield and Fortress.  Sin and death were his biggest guns; yet You’ve rendered them inoperable.  Thanks for allowing me to share in Your victory.

“REALITY … IS FOUND IN CHRIST”  (v 17 NIV)

All other ways of living are like false images projected into a room, seeming real, but are actually hollow and fabricated.  True life, real life, reality is found ONLY as I choose to live in Christ, to follow Your will, Lord.  Anything else is just a game.  Thank You for the truth of Your Word and for the realness of Your presence with me when I choose to notice You and to commune with You throughout a day.

“AS GOD CAUSES IT TO GROW”  (v 19 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for being the One who brings growth.  You cause me to grow.  You cause others to grow.  We are not responsible for, nor able to, produce growth in one another.  That’s YOUR role.  You simply call us to spur one another on, to encourage one another, to teach and admonish one another, so that we are a crop that’s weeded, watered, and fertilized, ready for the growth You’ll bring and the harvest You and we will enjoy.

Thank You, Father, for letting me see You, to know You. Thanks…
…for the life You give me,
…for the forgiveness You’ve given me,
…for the confidence that comes from knowing You are in control,
…for the reality of You–You’re real, You’re true and You’ll never fail me,
…for the growth You bring as You make me just like Jesus! Amen.

Colossians 2:8-12

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” ( 2:8 NIV)

Recently, Father, You showed me a description of “the world”–“anything that sets itself against God and His ways.”  Your Word says, “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  (James 4:4)  In 1 Peter 5:8, You tell me to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  You describe Satan as our enemy, the ruler of this world.  If I allow my thinking to be aligned with the way the world thinks and my behavior to be as the world supports, portrays and encourages, then I would be aligning with the enemy.

You’ve called me to be different, because You died for me, because I chose for You to be my Savior.  In order for You to be the Lord of my life, I must, I need to (help me consistently want to) break from the world.  Help me to recognize my enemy and refuse to be aligned with him in ANY way.

In Christ Jesus, You poured every ounce of Your Deity, Father, so that He was completely full of You.  Because Jesus came to live in me, I have this fullness–You are fully in me.

Because I am in Him (You), …

…YOU’VE CUT AWAY MY SINFUL NATURE, releasing me from its control

…YOU BURIED ME WITH JESUS THROUGH MY BAPTISM, washing away the effects of sin;

…YOU RAISED ME WITH HIM THROUGH MY FAITH IN YOUR POWER, making me new.

You’ve freed me, cleansed me and renewed me.  Help me to not climb back into the muck and cause You to have to clean me up again.  Ingrain in my mind the depth of Your love for me.  Imprint on my very being the full essence of YOUR character.  Keep growing me up to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Colossians 2:6-7

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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There was a day, Jesus, when I accepted Your offer of salvation.  Thank You for Your gift to me.  Since that time, You’ve shown me that looking to You as my Savior takes but a moment, yet making You my Lord takes a lifetime.  This passage reminds me of what it takes daily, continually, to remain in You.  Help me to:

CONTINUE TO LIVE IN YOU (v 6 NIV)

Draw me into Your presence throughout each day.  Let’s start each morning together, even before I step out of bed.  Turn my thoughts to You, if only to speak Your name, “Jesus” and perhaps to say “Good morning.”  Call on me to commit the day ahead to You, even if You ask me to kneel or bow before You, so that it’s set in my mind that I belong to You, the day belongs to You.  In every moment, every task of the day, bring to my mind reminders of You.  Prompt me to focus on You, to call out to You, even if all I can do is to call Your name, “Jesus.”  I know You’ll hear me and You’ll be present with me in all things.

BE ROOTED AND BUILT UP IN YOU (v 7 NIV)

Ground me firmly in Your Word, Father.  Cause the knowledge I carry in my head to be thoroughly intertwined with Your will as unveiled in Your Word.  Instill Your wisdom and understanding in me, as You also reveal Your character to me.  Build me, shape me, mold me into one who is a replica of Your Son.  And keep me growing, no matter what.

BE STRENGTHENED IN THE FAITH (v 7 NIV)

You, O Lord, are a Shield around me.  You are my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Strength.  You alone are able to keep my faith strong and steadfast.  I need You to protect me from doubt, worry, and fear–the arrows of the enemy that can threaten to tear at my faith in You.  Guard my heart and mind.  Remind me of my part in choosing to believe You and to trust You to be faithful.  Keep me close to You, for a shield does no good when it’s held too far from a soldier’s body.  I want to be right up next to You as we face each battle together.

BE OVERFLOWING WITH THANKFULNESS (v 7 NIV)

Create in me an abiding attitude of gratitude; one that causes me to genuinely thank You for even the hardest of times or most strenuous trials.  Cause the words “thank You” to be so natural to roll off my tongue or to burst forth from my heart in prayer or song.  In reality, everything I endure or experience has first passed through Your hands.  You are the Master Architect who is designing this house, called by my name, into a place where Jesus dwells and has the run of the house … a place that You can use to minister to others, so that they can know the One who resides in me.

As I live in You, grow in You, trust in You and thank You, keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.