Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28)
Paul and his ministry partners declared publicly, in speech and in writing, the praises and glory of the name of Jesus Christ, but the word proclaim also can mean to show by giving an outward indication of something. In this day and age, the silent witness of how we live our lives is often as important, if not more, than the words we speak. I pray none of us are afraid to speak the name of Jesus in public, but I pray also that it is not necessary for any of us to confess or tell anyone in words what our faith is and where we stand. I pray that would be plain by our conduct.
Paul and his ministry partners also warned and taught the flock, all those God gave to them, why? “Warn” is not a positive word today. It makes us thing of judgment, it makes us think of unforgiving attitudes, holier than thou, and condemnation. We assume this means warning someone they need to shape up or else they’re headed to hell, and we assume the person is willing us to go there.
The dictionary definition of warn is give advanced notice of danger or evil, and to give counsel, to offer admonishing advice–and admonish can mean gentle or friendly and earnest. This warning is the words of a loving friend encouraging you to take care of yourself and stay safe, spiritually speaking, not a harsh critic tearing you down, often in order to feel better about themselves. Further, the stated ministry goal is present us mature in Christ–to encourage spiritual growth, to lift you up, “actualize yourself” by becoming all that Christ made you to be, per the instructions of scripture.
Lord, we thank you for this day that you have made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. We thank you for those you have brought into our lives to minister to us, whether they are official clergy or not. We pray you would give them the wisdom and the gentleness and the compassion they need to admonish us and encourage us to be more like you in a loving manner. Strengthen us also, Lord, to know when you are calling us to minister with words of warning, and to do so in like loving fashion. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.