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.
Colossians 1:6 (NIV)
Read: Colossians 1:1-14
Consider: We live at a time when society at large believes that the ‘church’ is dying and that church attendance is dwindling. But is this the case? Even if church attendance was dwindling, is this evidence of the decline of the gospel?
In Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he writes: ‘… 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 (Colossians 1:6). What does Paul present as evidence that the gospel is bearing fruit and growing? Can you see that it is the lives of the individual believers at Colossae? Gospel growth does not start with mass church attendance, but in the spiritual lives of individual Christians. If this is where gospel growth is evident, the question arises as to whether you and I are growing in our faith?
Notice also in today’s passage that Paul on two occasions mentions that he is praying for the Colossian believers. He says: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you (1:3) and also: For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you (1:9). You may not realise that Paul had never met these Christians, so how could he pray meaningfully for them? While Paul cannot pray in detail about their situation, he can pray for their spiritual welfare. He prays (1:10-12) that they might:
– live a life worthy of the Lord;
– bear fruit;
– grow in the knowledge of God;
– be strengthened with all power;
– give joyful thanks to God.
When you are asked to pray for someone, do you think you need to have some knowledge of their situation before you can pray meaningfully for them? Today’s passage shows us that our prayers can still be meaningful even when our knowledge of the person is limited. We should not be afraid to pray for a person’s spiritual welfare and growth.
If your desire is to see the gospel bearing fruit and growing, then ask God to bear fruit in your own life, as well as in the lives of others you know. When praying for other people, pray specifically for their needs if you know what they are. If not, then follow Paul’s example and pray for their spiritual welfare and growth.
Pray: Father, we ask that gospel growth would be evident in our lives. May we bear fruit for you. Help us to pray for the spiritual welfare of those we know, as well as for their specific needs. Amen