God has great plans for your life. His plans for you are even better than the plans that you have for your life. You would be wise to look to Him and His Word, the Bible, to discover those plans. The Bible uses the phrase “the will of God, ” the things that “God wills, “God wants…,” and other phrases to refer to those plans.
At times, individuals in the Bible are described as doing things that please God. That is the case with the people mentioned in Colossians chapter 4. Several phrases about these Christ-followers give us examples to follow, as we all seek to do what God wants us to do. In the following paragraph, be looking for the phrase “everything God wills.”
10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, greets you, as does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin (concerning whom you have received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and so does Jesus who is called Justus. These alone of the circumcision are my coworkers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. 13 For I testify about him that he works hard for you, for those in Laodicea, and for those in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas greet you. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her home. 16 When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And tell Archippus, “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.” 18 This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
FIVE THINGS THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO
1. Show hospitality. Aristarchus (v10), Mark (10), Justus (v11), Epaphras (v12), Luke (v14) and Demas (v14) send greetings via the Colossian letter to their brothers and sisters in Christ in that church and other churches in the region. Being friendly and saying “hello” is one way to show hospitality. Another way is the way Nympha shows hospitality: by welcoming people into her home (v14). As Christ-followers we are to be approachable, hospitable, and friendly toward others, everywhere we go. This is the way of Christ.
2. Comfort one another. Aristarchus, Mark and Justus were a comfort to Paul (v11). The word “comfort” means both to console and to encourage. They comforted him in his afflictions, and they were an encouragement to him. When you comfort and encourage others, you are doing what God wants you to do.
3. Pray for one another. Epaphras is described as a person who contends for his friends in prayer (v12). The word “contending” reminds us that prayer is a spiritual battle, and that our prayers impact the lives of others as God works in their lives. You are called to wage spiritual war against your enemy the devil, and one of the ways you do this is by praying to the God of the universe, interceding on behalf of yourself and others. Follow Epaphras’ example. Pray for others to be spiritually mature, doing everything that God wills for them to do. Praying for others is one way that you do what God wants you to do.
4. Work hard to advance Christ’s kingdom. Epaphras is also described as someone who works hard for the churches in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis. He was not lazy nor did he neglect the work the Lord had called him to do. Paul says to them that “he works hard for you” (v13). Another person mentioned is Archippus, who was instructed: “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it” (v17). Each person has talents, gifts and passions that should be used to advance God’s kingdom. Whatever abilities the Lord has given you, use them in a way to point people to Christ and to advance Christ’s kingdom.
5. Be willing to suffer as a follower of Jesus. The writer of this letter (Paul) was in prison for sharing the gospel. He was personally suffering because of his obedience to Christ. Being a follower of Christ does not always mean imprisonment, but that is the fate of some Christ-followers in some nations of the world. Other people suffer verbal persecution because of their faith in Christ. Still other people suffer in other ways: health issues, financial challenges, broken relationships, more. A follower of Christ should not try to bring on suffering, but when it does come to your life, you should respond to it with faith and obedience, knowing that your Lord suffered for you. Trust that your faithfulness to the Lord even in the midst of suffering will lead to much fruit for the gospel. This is doing what God wants you to do.