Love, Yield, Obey, and Pray

Rudy Ross and I conclude our brief study of Colossians with an overview of the remaining verses in the book.

Like the letter to the Ephesians, Paul includes instructions about the way members of a household should treat each other.

Colossians 3.18-19 – Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Modern-day women often chafe over the command to “be subject to your husbands.” An understanding of the first-century world may eliminate some of their concerns.

(1) A wife was not chosen for love in the first century. Philosophers counseled men to choose a wife who could give them legitimate children and run the household well.

The Greco-Roman world accepted as a matter of fact that wives would bear children and take care of the home. Men were free to find love with their mistress and pleasure from prostitutes without any moral condemnation.

Both letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians address this issue and call Christian men to holiness.

(2) The command for husbands to love their wives may seem perfectly logical in 2021 but was rare in the first century.

Jesus defined the kind of love that was to be present in the home and said, “love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13.34).

When the environment of the home is filled with self-giving love, the truth of Jesus’ words is evident to all. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13.35).

(3) The word that describes a wife’s submission is the same word that was used for one Roman senator yielding his right to speak to another senator in the Roman forum.

When we compare self-giving love with yielding rights, there seems to be little difference.

Obedience

The command to children and slaves is different from that of wives. Wives yield what is rightfully theirs, but children and slaves must obey.

Colossians 3.20-23 – Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord.

Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not with a slavery performed merely for looks, to please people, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.

Whatever task you must do, work as if your soul depends on it, as for the Lord and not for humans.

The only person with less status than a slave in the ancient world was a child. Paul writes nothing new when he commands obedience from these two classes of people.

What is new is that slaves who follow Jesus are called to imitate their Savior. Their Savior had every right that heaven can confer on the Son of God, yet he became a slave.

[Jesus] existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,

But emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave.
(Philippians 2.6-7)

When slaves served their masters as if they were serving Jesus, they imitated Jesus and showed his character to a watching world.

Men were not to “suck the life” out of their children through harsh discipline.

As masters, they were commanded to “treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know that you also have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4.1).

Prayer

God always gives what he demands is an axiom that is demonstrated to be true throughout all of God’s dealings with humans.

When we are commanded to pray, we can count on God’s help with our prayers and the results from them.

Colossians 4.2-3 – Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.

At the same time, pray for us as well, that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison.

Prayer is not an optional Christian activity. Rather, God commands his covenant people to pray.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) wrote a famous appeal for prayer that perfectly sums up why we should be devoted to prayer.

More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer requests to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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