Declare Christ with Clarity

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
— Colossians 4:2-6

Paul and Timothy are writing this letter to the Colossians from prison in response to rumors they had heard that the Colossian church had recently been receiving false teaching. Throughout the letter, Paul uses exhortative language to urge the Colossians to resist the teaching.  He tells them to “stand firm.”  “Be mature.”  “Remember who you are in Christ.” 

Then, shocking – Paul and Timothy do not seek pity from the Colossians for their imprisonment.

Then, more shocking:  he requests prayer that he and Timothy have the opportunity to share Christ to those around them. 

Paul and Timothy do not see their imprisonment as misfortune.  They are knowing that all circumstances – good or bad – are opportunities to share Christ.

In order to transform the lives around him, Paul firsts SEES his imprisonment as an opportunity to declare Christ. 

We can read about Paul and Timothy and admire their persistence, boldness, and confidence.  But we know in practice how difficult it can be to see touch circumstances with this lens.

Furthering the Kingdom is always “somebody else’s job.”  It’s how we view those in “professional ministry”, right?  The pastors are responsible for teaching others about Jesus.  The youth pastor is the real one discipling our children – we’re only here for our children’s support.

This is a broken, unclear view of ministry.  We are to declare Christ to the world.  We are ALL ministers – not just pastors or youth pastors.  Because I promise:  if we don’t disciple our children, the world will disciple our children for us.

Only when we begin to see all environments as opportunities for the Kingdom to break through can we begin to think about declaring Christ with clarity.

But look at verse four. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

Remarkable, isn’t it?  That the great Apostle Paul – the author of fourteen biblical books – decided it was worth the ink to request prayer for clarity.  For, he says clarity “…is how I ought to speak.”

We’ve all read unclear books in which the author uses enormous words to communicate small, empty ideas.  These books may stick in our minds for a bit.  But we’ve also read books communicating profound ideas in simple, clear speech.  These books, I would argue, transform. 

After seeing our circumstances with clarity, we must give clarity to others so they can understand our message.  Seeing and giving work together so we can declare Christ with clarity.

The Christian message can be declared in more ways than only words.  The Colossians can declare the Christian message by the way they act.  To do so, they had to be conscious of the way they behaved.

Words and actions work together to declare Christ with clarity. 

Let’s jump back to the first century for a moment.  The first century relationship between a rabbi and disciples was very intimate.  When a man became a disciple of a rabbi, he took on the responsibility to follow, learn, imitate, and declare the rabbi in every way. 

Rabbis would sit down and teach, and disciples would sit on the ground, in the dirt in order to soak up the words of their rabbi.

Because of this, there was a saying that said it “…is possible to recognize a Jewish disciple, for he would be ‘covered in the dust of his rabbi.’”

We are disciples of our rabbi, Jesus Christ.  It is our responsibility to follow, learn, and imitate our rabbi in every way.  To do so, we must first SEE every circumstance around us as opportunities to declare Christ.  Then, in these opportunities, we must be GIVE clarity to others so they can understand our declaration.

We have the opportunity to share the message of Christ.  When we are conscious of our words and actions, we bring clarity to Jesus Christ and further the Kingdom.