In Colossians 1:9 you read, “For this cause (reason) we also...”

What was the cause (the reason)? We need to determine this because it motivated Paul and his colleagues to ask God for things.

We need to learn these important things. There are relationships touching and affecting our lives. We cannot avoid the impact of relationships — first and most important is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Then there is the relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, “The saints and faithful brothers/sisters” (1:2).

Relationships result in conversation. We talk with, communicate with one another. This is a basic element in Paul’s epistles, Christians sharing with one another and with God. Prayer isn’t just an individual talking with God. Prayer is a community experience as part of the body of Christ. Paul expresses it — “We give thanks... praying always for you...” (1:3-4); “We heard it... pray... ask” (1:9). He refers to fellowship, “For the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24).

Think about relationships; how they are important and vital in all our lives. The most important relationship is that between the individual — you, me and every single person — and God.

We need to grasp, understand and live in the light of these important things. God has delivered us. Notice, the “we” and the “us.” We are not alone. The Christian is not a “lone ranger” in this faith journey. We are on this journey together. Who qualifies us for this living body?

There are those who are self-qualified — they think they are important and have earned the right or position by who and what they are doing or have done. Like the man in one church who said to me, “We give the most to this church and we ought to have the say.” He revealed the selfishness and silliness of his understanding of the church as the body of Christ. He disqualified Himself and revealed that he knew little of Jesus and the Church.

Paul says to the Colossians, “The Father... has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance.” The Church is a living body. There are things living bodies need constantly. These things are linked to the vital relationship sustaining and securing us. The spiritual relationship with the living God is what nourishes us. Our food is knowledge, wisdom and understanding. The source of renewal and revival is the banquet communicating to the spiritual body God’s will, witness and work.

Conversation in Church is essential and revealing. In this way we learn about what God is doing, what we need to be doing and what others are doing, thinking.

New Testament Christians communicated with one another. They sent written letters, reports by word-of-mouth. Paul was saying in Colossians and his other epistles — “You heard and knew the grace of God in truth,” “You also learned from Epaphras;” “Epaphras... declared to us your love in the Spirit;” “Giving thanks to the Father.” In this way Christians learned, taught, proclaimed and shared what God was for them and through them.

There are the concerns we must face. We ought to be careful about what fills us because that also affect how we behave, how we walk. We are to “walk worthy of the Lord” (1:10).

What Jesus has done is directly related to Who He is. He is God. This is what Paul describes in Colossians 1, verses 15-20. Who Jesus is cannot be avoided or unrelated to what He does for us and in us. The community cannot be avoided. The “we” of this passage cannot be ignored. We must consider it and learn the importance of togetherness, family and community.

Christianity is not a lone ranger experience where we are saved and on our way to heaven while everything around us is getting worse and worse. We must be committed to God’s agenda and righteousness as part of the faith family. This family extends back to the beginning of the church when Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

The church belongs to Jesus. It isn’t ours. It is His. We are His possessions. We are His people. We belong to Him. There are things this means we need to know, confess and live in the power of. These are summarized in Colossians chapter 1, verses 13 and 14. We have been delivered from the power of darkness and can now live and walk in the light. John referred to this in 1 John about walking in the light, even as Jesus is in the light.

Then we have been conveyed, or placed, in Jesus’ kingdom, and Jesus is said to be “the Son of His love” and this act on God’s part results in two important things — redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. We are redeemed and forgiven.

Prayer links us with God. We are not alone; the Lord is with us. Jesus refers to this when He said, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). He promised to be with us, to hear us and to answer us when we call upon Him. Our conversation with God is vital and important to who we are and what we do.

There are commitments which challenge us. There are words that describe the significance of this commitment fact. Learn the importance of commitment and dedication. The words we need to pay attention to are being, increasing, giving, living in Kingdom power and presence.

There are specific things to conclude about the great fact of Jesus in our lives.

First, we need to talk with God, with one another and with ourselves. We need to carry on a conversation inwardly so that we can really know ourselves, understand ourselves. Then we can more appropriately and adequately talk with one another and with God.

Second, we ought to worship individually and together as God’s people. The Hebrews writer talked about this saying, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another...” (Heb. 10:24-25).

Third, we should “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).

Fourth, we should be joyous and thankful as we worship and work for the Lord. We have this joy in Jesus’ power and presence, and in this spirit we can give thanks to God the Father (Col. 1:12).

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— You can send your thoughts to drjerryhopkins@yahoo.com , or by snail mail to Dr. Jerry Hopkins, P. O. Box 1363, Marshall, Texas 75671. Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a historian and retired professor.