Message: Colossians 4 is the final chapter and last thoughts in Paul’s short letter to the church of Colossae. Paul encouraged them (and us) to devote ourselves to prayer and to stay alert in it with thanksgiving. This is big already and it’s just verse 2. I had to read that a few times to let that soak in. Sometimes even in our prayer time we are speaking out of our fear and frustration because that is what we fed ourselves and meditated on in our hearts. I can’t even count the number of times I have gone to prayer and just vented out the contents of my heart and caught myself somewhere in the middle because I realized I was complaining about all that I felt and feared and was somehow advising God on how I needed him to handle it. I’m so thankful that God has been so patient with me and I’m not suggesting we stop venting our problems to God and being honest with him about the condition we are in. He is SAFE! We just have to remember who it is we are speaking to and ask him to help us get on board with his plan. The footnotes in my bible clarify the meaning of “staying alert or staying awake” as the mental attitude of expectancy and watchfulness. This is so important but it’s also very important to note that he said to stay awake with thanksgiving. We can be alert, aware and watchful, but without thankfulness we will not filter things properly and we will anticipate the negative instead of anticipating the hand and move of God. In verse 4 Paul asked them to pray for God to open opportunities for the message. Then in verse 5 he tells them (and us) to act wisely to outsiders, make the most of the time. Our speech should always be gracious and seasoned with salt so that we know how to answer each person. In order to do this we have to be in the right state of mind ourselves. We can’t be gracious and we won’t season our conversations with salt or faith filled expectation if we aren’t there ourselves. If we are starting and consuming our day with social media we will not be spiritually prepared to process through all that we encounter and we will certainly not be in a healthy place to lead anyone else through the muck. We need to put down the memes and stop passing around opinions and offenses. We need to be in the word and in prayer with a heart of humility and gratitude as we look to God for direction. We need to ask God to reveal what he wants us to see and not just gravitate towards ideas that are familiar and comfortable. Saltiness means something very different in the bible than it does in our current culture so our conversations should be salted with messages of hope and faith filled expectation. When we are thankful, alert, watchful and full of the word, we will be able to ask God for opportunities to share a word of encouragement. Our attitude and our encouragement will sprinkle a message of hope, not condemnation to people who are lost.