Day 2. Colossians 1:5-8
5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf.
8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
vs 4-5 (these ran together, so I included both)
The love that was mentioned before came from the "confident hope" in the reward that God set aside for them in heaven. What I felt most about this verse was that it seemed that their joy and excitement and LOVE was so pure and fresh, expectant and joyful. It was like they were so on fire for God that they couldn't wait to show His grace and love to others.
** As a side note, I don't have this information in my Bible, but I am curious as to how well established this church was. IT felt, as I read, as though I was reading about the fervent passion of a new believer. It would be interesting to know how long they had been believers at this point.**
Again, here Paul shares that the Good News has gone out all over the world and is changing lives much like it changed their lives when they first believed. To be that "on fire" or "sold out"! He knew that they would rejoice in hearing that the news was spreading, otherwise, I don't think that he would have included it at all in the letter. Secondly, he clearly states that the news changed them once they had heard AND understood the truth about God's grace. So it isn't possible for one to hear AND understand the grace of God without experiencing a change.
This verse felt like a verbal acknowledgement to Epaphras, the man that the Colossians looked to as spiritual leader and minister. But not only did it do that, it gives us all a good guideline for what is expected of us as our role as disciples in the world (and within the church as leaders). Some texts called Epaphras a "dearly loved fellow slave" (HCSB), some called him "beloved co-worker" (NLT), and many say some variation of "fellow servant". The Amplified version elaborated his role by calling him the "faithful minister of Christ in our stead", and a "representative" of both Paul (et al), and the Church of Colosse. Boiling this down, the role of an acceptable, if not commendable and honorable minister or disciple should include the roles of "servant", "faithful minister", and most importantly (I feel), Representative- of Christ and the Church.
The love that the Colossians are exemplifying is not of this world, or man-made, but Spiritually gifted to them.
The most valuable nuggets that came from this for me were:
1. Our role as servants and representatives
2. Remembering the on fire joy that came with salvation
3. Depending on the Spirit for "Love" (to give others)
For me, I pray that the Spirit would renew in me a fresh joy for Christ and His work for me here on earth. I pray that I would become more conscious of my status as the "city on a hill", people are watching, and I represent Him and the Church. I pray that the Spirit give me a gift of enduring love for people so that all can experience that hope that we have in our future.