READ: Colossians 4:2-18
THINK: Have you ever prayed for God’s direction, then waited…and waited–seemingly with no response? When seeking God’s guidance, we might wish to hear an audible voice or receive a supernatural vision of things to come. But God is not likely to provide answers that are so obvious that they don’t require faith. Just as you can’t steer a car unless it’s moving, God doesn’t intend to steer lives that are idling in neutral. Many times when God opens or unlocks doors, you’ll still need to move ahead, turn the knob and walk through. This requires active trust and persistent prayer. But those who are ready to respond to God discover a world of wide-open opportunities.
RESPOND: How is devotion to prayer related to “being watchful and thankful”? (See 4:2 note.) Why and in what ways might God open and close doors in our lives and ministries? (See 4:3 note.) What is your personal responsibility in this process? What does it mean to “be wise in the way you act toward outsiders” (v. 5), and why is this important? How can you ensure that you “make the most of every opportunity” (v. 5)? What does it mean to “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”? (See 4:6 note.) Why is this important in influencing others for Christ? What do you think it means to wrestle in prayer? (See 4:12 note.) Why and when is intense prayer vital for you personally and for others? What is remarkable about Paul’s attitude considering the circumstances surrounding the writing of many of his letters to churches? (See 4:18 note.) In what way does his example challenge and inspire you?
PRAY: Ask God to strengthen your passion for prayer. Pray that you remain spiritually alert and that you always maintain a grateful attitude. Ask God to help you recognize when He is opening and closing doors in your life. Pray for the faith to walk through open doors to make the most of every opportunity to honor Him and influence others for Christ. Ask God to give you a joyful and hopeful attitude through tough times.
ACT: Has God opened for you a door of direction, opportunity or ministry through which you have not yet ventured? Step through that open door today and trust God to help and guide you. Be careful of how your actions are perceived by non-Christians. Make sure you set a good example of Christlike character. Pay particular attention to your conversations. Think before you speak, to ensure that your words are pleasing to God and uplifting to others.