Making the Most of Every Opportunity

S (Scripture) – Colossians 4:5-6 “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see that You want us to be prepared and intentional about speaking with those who don’t yet know You.  Recognizing that each person needs to have a unique approach is also key.

A (Application) – See every interaction as an opportunity to move that person a little more toward Jesus.  Be a good listener, and authentically connect with them in order to have discernment about how to respond to each person.

P (Prayer) – Lord, may I see every interaction throughout my day as ordained by You, and help me to make the most of every opportunity.

Temporary vs. Eternal

S (Scripture) – Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” NASB  “Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.  See things from His perspective.” The Message

O (Observation) – Lord, I see this as a warning against going though life distracted by the unimportant and urgent matters that dominate the fields of our minds.  Especially during certain seasons of life (e.g. small children, graduate school, caring for aging parents, all of this at the same time, etc.) it is easy to see why our attention can be demanded of us in many different places.

A (Application) – I REFUSE to be the person who wakes up one day at age 90, looks around, and wonders where all the time went.  Yes, life is short, but if we are living for the Lord our lives will be so richly abundant that we will have few regrets.  We must submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus each and every moment, allow Him to direct our steps, and be intentional about being in step with the Spirit.  Then, we can be sure that our time on earth was not squandered on trivial matters that ultimately will not matter in the light of eternity.

P (Prayer) – Lord, guide each day of my life for Your kingdom’s work.  Help me to not become distracted by circumstances that ultimately have no impact in the grand scheme of eternity.

Firmly Rooted and Built Up

The name of the material that we are utilizing in our discipleship class is the 2:7 Series, produced by The Navigators.  This actually is referencing Colossians 2:7, which was the basis for my devotional time today.  After having a chance to really meditate on this passage, it is clear why the 2:7 Series is named as such.

Book One – Growing Strong in God’s Family

Book Two – Deepening Your Roots in God’s Family

Book Three – Bearing Fruit in God’s Family

S (Scripture) – Colossians 2:2,7 “…that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

O (Observation) – Lord, I see You so clearly saying that in order to have “full assurance,” “understanding,” “true knowledge,” “wisdom,” etc. it comes from being “firmly rooted,” “built up,” and “established in our faith,” and that comes from being “instructed.”

A (Application) – It is our role in God’s kingdom to instruct new and fellow Christ followers so that we will all be productive disciples.  There is no proverbial “Plan B.”  God’s design is for us to move His kingdom forward.

P (Prayer) – Lord, help me to instruct Your people.  Equip me to become all that You desire for me to become, and help me to equip others.

Proclaim + Admonish + Teach = Present Every Person Complete in Christ

Dawson Trotman of The Navigators  has authored several books over the years, but one of his smaller works entitled, “Born to Reproduce,” is the one that really changed my way of thinking about discipleship.  In it he states, “The gospel spread to the known world during the first century without radio, television, or the printing press because these produced men who were reproducing.  But today we have a lot of “pew-sitters” – people think that if they are faithful in church attendance, put good-sized gifts into the offering plate, and get people to come, they have done their part.”

As we mature in our Christian walk, we are to become intentional in our discipling of others.  God’s plan was, and still is, for His people to use the gifts he has so graciously bestowed upon them to build up others and help them to grow as well, so that they in turn would disciple others.  Disciples are to grow to become disciple-makers.

Each day as part of my quiet time, I focus on reading one chapter slowly and carefully.  This week, I will focus on Colossians and then 1 Peter.  There is a time for more in-depth study of God’s Word, and there is a time for devotional reading that is more about having a conversational relationship with our Lord.  These “SOAPs” of mine are in no way an in-depth exegesis of the passage, and are just my thoughts as I read through and prayerfully consider God’s Word.

S (Scripture) – Colossians 1:28 “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”

O (Observation) – The definition of admonish is: to indicate duties or obligations to; to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner; to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to…Lord, we are to be doing these things, teaching others, but we cannot teach what we do not know – we cannot lead where we do not go.

A (Application) – Lord, we first must become Your disciples if we are to become disciple-makers.  Discipline is of the same root word – it doesn’t happen overnight.  Spiritual maturity is your desire for everyone.

P (Prayer) – Jesus, draw me even closer to You.  Holy Spirit, equip me to do Your work.