Sometimes life goes the way we plan. Many times it doesn’t. But Paul’s circumstances never made him deviate from his life purpose–to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom. Here, he continues to move from his description of God’s kingdom and its implications for our lives, to how we can join in proclaiming God’s kingdom to the world.
Paul talks about prayer three times in this short passage. Prayer is the most effective aspect of the proclamation of the gospel. Prayer properly puts us in the posture of submission to God’s will for how the gospel will be shared in the world. Moreover, when we’re aligned with Jesus, the Holy Spirit empowers us to be the proclaimers that we are commissioned to be as God’s people.
Paul also uses “saltiness” as an analogy for how to share the good news of God’s kingdom. Now, sometimes people are described as “salty” when they’re bitter or grumpy, usually about something they’re upset about (like the Dodgers losing in the 10th inning to the Mariners because of a walk-off balk!) But here, Paul uses the analogy to describe how the people of God add something pleasing to the broader culture; something desirable to taste, making it easier to ingest the spiritual food which will ultimately nourish them.
Finally, Paul reminds the early church to not let their life-situation deter their service. It’s sometimes easy to look at the past through rose-colored glasses. “They had it figured out,” we might think. Or, “They had a special dose of God’s Holy Spirit.” But when we read Paul’s letters carefully, we realize that life was as “real” for them as it is for us. They struggled. They became confused. They doubted. In the same way, church culture can sometimes seem so polished that we forget that we are also a motley collection of saved sinners. That is precisely why the way we live out and proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom in that context makes our proclamation to a world who has not really experienced it all the more necessary, and all the more powerful.
- Prayer: If you have a regular practice of prayer, describe it. If not, what kind of practice could you begin this week?
- Saltiness: In what ways can you help shape the culture’s perception of Jesus’ people in the way you live a “salty” life?
- Growing: Since we’re all saved sinners, our lives are a process of growing into the people God created us to be. What destructive tendencies is God calling you to leave behind? What life-giving gifts has God given you that God is calling you to embrace? How can this letting go and embracing enable you to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom?
Want to read ahead for this Sunday? Check out Colossians 4:7-17.