What is your goal or aim in life? Is it to earn enough to provide for a comfortable life now and for retirement later? Is it to give enough to keep conscience at bay? Is it to live in such a way so that in everything you do, it is done to glorify God?
Many people today are used to the idea of goals or targets: our jobs often demand them, our bank balance demonstrates them and our lifestyle is in need of them. But, what are our spiritual goals? What examples do we have - and how might we learn from each other?
In this study from Colossians 1 & 2 Paul describes his goals, the personal struggles he goes through in getting there and the spiritual resources he has at his disposal to enable him to attain them.
To think about
- What goals would you be willing to suffer for?
- How might we keep our focus on God’s will, when there are so many competing challenges on our time and resources?
Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the kingdom of God on earth. (John Wesley)
Pause for thought I: Our Call and our Goals
- Please read Colossians 1:24 - 2:5. How in vv. 24 - 29 does Paul define and describe God's commission to Him?
- In what ways is God's commission the same for us and in what ways might it differ?
- In what ways might we live the life of a servant in a "me first" culture?
- In vv. 27, Paul refers to "the mystery that has been kept hidden. " In the NT the term mystery does not refer to something that is hard to fathom ("mysterious") but to something that was once hidden but which God now wants to make clear. What was this mystery and why was it so startling to the believers at Colossae?
- Why does this "mystery" challenge the believer and unbeliever alike today?
- How do you feel about the challenge of reaching out to others? (see vv. 24). How might you overcome any reservation you may have?
When we think of a servant, we usually think of a man who gives time to his employer and who receives a wage for doing so. He is at the disposal and in the command of his master. When that time ends, he is free to do exactly as he likes.
In Paul's time the status of the slave/servant was quite different. Quite literally he had no time which belonged to him. He had no moment when he was free. Every single moment of his time belonged to his master. It was impossible for a servant/slave to serve two masters, because he was the exclusive possession of one master. That is the picture that is in Paul's mind.
Pause for thought II: Our own resources
- How does Paul move towards God’s goal for him? (see 1:9 & verses 28 & 29)
- What might our struggle to support other believers involve? What does this mean for our walk with God? (see vv. 1 ff.)
- What are the marks of Christian maturity (verses 2 to 5)? How might knowing this encourage our witness and help us to encourage others?
- What arguments can lure us away from Christ and hinder our growth to spiritual maturity? How can we avoid this?
- What resources do we have in the church/in our own lives that are underused? Where cold these bring fruit within the fellowship?
- for one another that we might grow into maturity
- for our local area & our mission
- praise God for his riches!