“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:4-7
As Christians, most of us want to live out our faith by doing. We like church enough to go. We head out to camps. We join a small group or Bible study. From time to time, we have a devotion with our families. We also might join a local service project or take on a service role with a local Christian organization.
However, the important subtext found throughout all of Paul’s letters is that our attitudes must also be in line with our action as we do the business required for God’s Kingdom. For some people, that means holding back their service and living within defined comfort zones. They say no to anything that messes with their schedule, forces them to be around uncomfortable people, or simply makes their palms sweat. Yet, I don’t believe this interpretation is how the early church lived their faith and advanced the gospel.
I believe that the first century church acted with boldness and urgency to proclaim the gospel and serve needs within the church and throughout the community. They didn’t wake up and only act on feelings. They understood the importance of sacrificial service and then committed to the work.
In the face of this work, those early believers needed encouragement and spiritual sustenance. Paul recognized the need and reminded the early church that a true Christ-like disposition is one of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and seeking God. In the midst of gospel-driven work, these traits can only be developed when we are on our knees in prayer and submitting ourselves to the Lord’s actions and attitudes. I often face a lack of joy and thanksgiving and have to submit my soul to the truth of God’s Word, and I believe others may as well. As a church, in the midst of our Kingdom work and through prayer, I hope that we can “guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ” and seize the spiritual opportunities that God has provided.
If you are looking for a distraction free, quiet place to connect with God please join us each week for a time of prayer on Sunday nights from 6pm to 7pm.