Dealing with God and People
Text: Colossians 4:2-6
Good afternoon all of you!
It’s so good to be with you all this afternoon.
Let me begin our time together with some practical questions about our daily lives.
How do we deal with God? And how do we deal with people around us? In other words, how is our relationship with God and our relationship with people? How are we living our Christian life being children of God and being part of a community around us?
These are some of the hard questions that we should ask ourselves as we live our Christian life in the context of a being a part of a community. Let us see what the word of God say about dealing with God and dealing with people.
Text: Colossians 4:2-6
Title: Dealing with God and People
PI: Dealing with God Prayerfully and Dealing with People Wisely
How should we deal with God and other people?
Our text gives us two approaches on how we should deal with God and people.
The first approach is found in verses 2-4 in our text, it says, ‘Deal with God in Prayer’.
I. Deal with God in Prayer (vs. 2-4)
Paul gives an exhortation about dealing with God here in these verses. Dealing with God is our vertical relationship with God which happens through constant communication which is prayer. First of all, our prayer must be continuous. There must be steadfastness in our prayer life. We should be devoted in our prayer. This is the way the early church prayed (Acts 1:14; 2:46). Many of us pray only occasionally; when we feel like it or when there is a crisis. As Paul says in 1 Thes. 5: 17, “Pray without ceasing”, our communication with God should not stop anytime and anywhere. This does not mean that we should walk around muttering prayers under our breath. Rather, it means we should be constantly in fellowship with God so that prayer is as normal to us as breathing.
a. Being Watchful
As we deal with God in prayer, we should also be watchful in our prayers. The phrase we read in the Bible often, ‘watch and pray’ should be practiced when we pray to God. There is no power in dull and dry prayer which is like an altar without fire. Our prayers should have energy and alertness as the spiritual enemy is against our relationship with God. Satan is not happy when we pray to God constantly, so we should be watchful of him.
b. Being Thankful
When we deal with God in prayer, there must be an element of thanksgiving in every prayer. There are so many things we have to be thankful to God for and there are no other things we can offer back to Him. Paul explains his thankfulness several times in this letter when he was in the prison. Thankfulness is one of the most essential elements in our prayers as we deal with God in prayer. Our prayers should also be specific. It helps us to know when God answered our prayer and praise Him for it. We pray general prayers most of the times, but Paul’s request for his specific need to proclaim the Gospel. We should not separate proclaiming the word of God and prayer since God has joined them together in Acts 6:4. As we deal with God in our prayers, we should also pray for the missionaries like Paul who are in the ministry of proclaiming the mystery of Christ. “When we work, we work; when we pray, God works”. So in our dealing with God, let us pray and let Him work in and through us.
I would like to share my own experience here on how my relationship with God has been so meaningful through prayer in the past year. God gave me an opportunity to serve in the IGSL community being a part of the student council team. It was such a wonderful time for me to trust God more and level up my faith. I would like to call it a ‘faith stretching exercise’ where I had to go to God in prayer and trust in His promises. I realized that working for a community and working in a community is not something that I can deal with my own self understanding and experience. I knew the fact that I have to deal with God in a right way if I want to deal with people right. So before doing any events, planning and preparation; I always went to God in prayer and thanked for His favors at the same time asked for more favor. There was a tendency to just ask for His favors in all our activities and forget to thank God for what He had done in and through us. So as a team, we went to God in prayer for the activities and we praised God for His favor after the activities. We did regular evaluation of our team and us as an individual to make sure that our relationship with God is right. That spiritual exercise of dealing with God in prayer for all our projects and plans was the key in creating a harmonious community.
Dealing with God prayerfully and dealing with people wisely.
Our text gives us two approaches on how to deal with God and how to deal with people.
The first approach is found in verses 2-4 which says, ‘deal with God in prayer’.
The second approach is found in verses 5-6 which says, ‘deal with people in wisdom’.
II. Deal with People in Wisdom (vs. 5-6)
Paul talks about dealing with people after he exhorts the Colossians on how to deal with God. Dealing with people is our horizontal relationship with other people around us. We are exhorted to conduct wisely towards people, especially to those who do not belong to the family of God. Paul is telling the people those who are already inside the family of God to act wisely with the people those who are still outside the family of God. He says that we should be wise in dealing with those people as they are watching us how we live our lives. We should be the living testimony to them as we live our daily life. Acting wisely in our daily life means to be honest in our work, roles, responsibilities, paying bills, taxes, keeping promises and so on.
a. Acting Wisely
Paul says it is not enough walking wisely before the people those who are not in the family of God yet. We should also make the most out of the time and opportunities that God has given us. He is reminding the Colossians believers that time is precious and it must be used wisely. Paul is actually teaching the principle of time management and being good stewards of the time, resources and opportunities God has given us. After talking about acting wisely, Paul now talks about talking wisely when we talk to the people who are still outside the family of God. In verse 6, he says that our speech must be gracious as we talk to the people. We must be wise on how we use our words too. It should always be full of grace and glorifying to God. Our words should bless the people who hear us and it should be seasoned with salt. Paul said, ‘seasoned with salt ‘because salt is used for seasoning and also for preserving. Likewise, our speech should be like a food seasoned with salt which is tasty to the hearers. It involves the idea of pureness and properness of our speech when we talk to the other people.
b. Speaking Gracefully
At the end of verse 6 Paul gives the reason why we should speak graciously and our speech should be seasoned with salt. The very reason is that we will know how to answer the question of everyone around us, especially those who do not belong to the family of God. Most of the times, the questions and comments of those people toward us would be negative and harsh. It also puts us down and our faith in Christ down at times but still our response should be full of grace and seasoned with salt. Those people will come to Christ one day because of our gracious speech. We need wisdom and grace to give proper answers to every man when we deal with other people. Particularly in answering the questions and objections against our faith to give the reasons of it. 1 peter 3:15 says, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”. People observe how we speak and what we speak all the time. We must be aware that there are people around us whom we must speak in grace with the seasoning like salt. That is how Paul is telling us to deal with people, especially the people who do not belong to the family of God yet. The question for us is, ‘are we living a Christian life that relates well with the people around us?
Dealing with God prayerfully and dealing with people wisely.
Our text gives us two approaches on how we should deal with God and people
The first approach is found in verses 2-4 which say, “Deal with God in prayer”.
The second approach is found in verses 5-6 which say, “Deal with people in wisdom”.
Since we live in a community, we always have to deal with people around us. We can only deal with people rightly in our public life when we deal with God rightly in our private life. Our dealing with people is the outward manifestation of our dealing with God in the inward. Prayer is the key in dealing with God while wisdom is the key in dealing with people. Let us deal with God in our everyday life through prayer and as the result of it, we will be wise to deal with people, especially the non-Christians. God has put us in different places; our communities, workplaces, circle of friends, families and so on. He wants us to be the agents of His Gospel to all the people we deal with. Let us not just share the Gospel but let us live up to it as our life is the fifth book of Gospel. Let us be the mediator between God and those people around us who are still out of the family of God.
Let us be transformed by dealing with God in prayer in order to bring the transformation in the lives of the people around us by dealing with them wisely.