3 "Praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned."
Colossians 4:3 (NASB)
I walked into a major league locker room one day to hear a player shouting obscenities into the face of the strongest believer on the team. He was angry (and probably convicted) about his teammate’s godly life, on and off the field.
People were doing more than yelling at the apostle Paul. He had been run out of cities all across Asia Minor for preaching Christ.
When he arrived in Jerusalem the crowd was determined to kill him. To protect him from an angry mob, the political authorities eventually shipped Paul to Rome where he was imprisoned for two years for the public disruption he had caused.
Note Paul’s prayer request for opportunities to “speak forth.” It means to speak freely, without restraint. Get this — Paul was thrown into prison for talking about Jesus, and he was still asking God for more opportunities to talk about Him.
If Paul was on your team, he would be praying that God would open doors into his teammates’ lives – to speak freely about the gospel.
We know from Paul’s other writings that he was not talking about being brash or argumentative. He was praying that nothing would hold him back from talking about Jesus.
There is a clever quote floating around that is falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Our lives help to gain a hearing, but our words are necessary to explain how to become a Christian.
Paul called the gospel a mystery. It is not something mysterious, but something that is being revealed.
When God opens the eyes of unbelieving teammates, we have the opportunity to tell them that Jesus is the One they are looking for.
Tomorrow – what do we pray for?