Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing messages we have covered four important aspects of the Christian walk revealed in chapters three and four of Colossians: setting our mind on the things above, the renewing of the new man, the peace of Christ arbitrating in us, and the word of Christ inhabiting us. If we have these four things, we shall have a proper Christian walk. Husbands will love their wives, wives will submit to their husbands, children will obey their parents, parents will care for their children properly, and even masters and slaves will have the right kind of relationship. Everything will be normal in the Christian life, and the glory of God will be among us.
After covering all these matters, in 4:2 Paul charges us, “Persevere in prayer.” To persevere in prayer is to continue persistently, steadfastly, and earnestly.
As human beings, we all persevere in certain matters, often in negative things. In married life a husband and wife may persevere in the exchange of words. Once an argument begins, neither the husband nor the wife may be willing to give in. During my many years in the church life, I have observed many cases where the saints persevered in the expression of their ideas, concepts, or opinions. No matter what the situation, they were not willing to change their opinion. These negative examples show that we do know what it means to persevere.
According to Paul’s word in 4:2, the thing that requires our perseverance is prayer. We need to persevere in prayer because prayer involves a battle, a fight. Two parties, God and Satan, are hostile to each other. The meaning of the name Satan is adversary. Satan is both the enemy without and the adversary within. On the one hand, he is the enemy trying to defeat God; on the other hand, he is the adversary within God’s realm seeking to cause damage. As the adversary, Satan opposes God from within God’s realm, God’s kingdom. This is the reason the Bible clearly indicates that even today Satan has access to the place of God’s throne. In the book of Job we see that Satan can stand before the throne of God and accuse people before Him (Job 1:6-12). It is difficult for us to understand why God allows His enemy such freedom. According to Revelation 12:10, Satan accuses us day and night.
Although the battle raging in the universe is between God and Satan, another party is involved. This third party consists of God’s chosen and redeemed people, the ones who will actually decide the outcome of the battle. If we take sides with Satan, God will lose, even though He is almighty. As the infinite, all-powerful Creator, God will not lower Himself to fight against one of His creatures. Thus, it is necessary for another of God’s creatures—man—to fight against Satan. In a very real sense, God needs us. Without us, He would not have a way to carry on the battle against Satan. He must maintain His status as the Creator. For this reason, He needs us to carry on the actual work of warfare.
In order to fight on God’s side against Satan, we need to persevere in prayer. This perseverance is needed because the course of the whole world is away from God. To pray is to go against the current, the trend, in the fallen universe. Persevering in prayer is like rowing a boat upstream. If you do not persevere, you will be carried downstream by the current. No doubt, to persevere in this way, either in rowing or in praying, requires a great deal of energy. The entire universe is under Satan’s influence and is contrary to God’s will. Hence, there is a strong current in the world in opposition to the will of God. As those who take sides with God, we find that the whole universe is against us and, in particular, against our prayer.
Many of the experiences we have with respect to prayer day by day prove that Satan opposes our prayer in every way possible. For example, a telephone call may come just when you are at a very important point in your prayer. You have prayed yourself into the Spirit, and you are touching the heavens. Then, at that very moment, the telephone may ring. You may answer the telephone only to learn that someone has dialed the wrong number. Your praying spirit may be seriously damaged by the irritation this causes you. When we try to pray, we may also be disturbed by our children, by callers at the door, or by any animal pets there may be in the house. Because there is so much resistance to our prayer, we definitely need to persevere in prayer.
Some sisters claim that they have very little time to pray. In their attempt to make excuses for themselves, they may point to all the responsibilities they must fulfill day by day. However, these same sisters may have plenty of time to gossip on the telephone. They find it extremely easy to talk on the telephone, but very difficult to pray. To them, praying is like climbing a mountain. It is tiring and takes tremendous energy. But they do not find it exhausting to gossip. This illustration indicates that resistance to prayer lies not only outside us, but even within us. This is the reason we all find it difficult to pray.
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