What’s your reputation for faith?
When the Apostle Paul wrote to different churches, sometimes he needed to correct issues, other times he wanted to encourage them, but he always mentioned that he prayed for them. In one of his letters (epistle) he spoke about how he prayed for the church and how well they were doing.
Colossians 1:3-5 says; “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven…” The church in Colossae was doing well and Paul’s prayer for them provides a high bar for every follower of Jesus.
First Paul heard about their faith. I wonder what he heard? Obviously they had a good reputation concerning their faith. Were they feeding the hungry and blessing the needy? We’re not told but they were doing something that other people noticed and the word got back to Paul. I’m challenged by that, what’s my reputation with outsiders? Do others hear of my faith, or am I seen as just another, “religious person?”
Next, we find a clue to why they had a good reputation. Paul heard about their love for one another. In other words, they were living out the command of Jesus. In John 13:34 Jesus said; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
The Saints in Colossae loved one another and their love was demonstrated by their actions. Again, I wonder; what were they doing to show their love? Were they helping the widows and giving to orphans? Were they sharing in the blessings God had given them? Again we don’t know the details, but we do see their motivation.
Paul says; “it’s because of your hope of heaven.” Those believers understood the heart of the Gospel; that life is temporal and eternity is real and every human is created to live forever, but only those who trust in Christ have the hope of heaven. That hope is not like wishing really hard for something rather biblical hope is defined as; “an expectation.” So those early Christians lived with an expectation of eternity with God. And why would they have that as a motivation? Because their faith was real and they had been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For us today; can the motivation of heaven be the transforming force in our lives? Can the hope of heaven cause you to have a reputation of genuine faith and love for others? The answer is yes! The Apostle John gives us his motivation for writing a different epistle. 1 John 5:13 says; “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
John says, you can know that you have eternal life and be confident of the hope of heaven as you trust in Jesus. Do you have such hope? If not, consider Jesus and find what he called, “abundant life!” If you know Christ, Paul’s prayer should challenge you to examine what your reputation is and if others see you as a Jesus follower, or just another religious person.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.