Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Colossians 3:18 through 4:6

May 13, 2021

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Don was always busy in the work of the Lord. Were there dishes to be washed after a meal at the campground restaurant? seafaring men to be picked up at the docks for a church service? wiring assistance needed on a church project? a ditch that needed digging? a church lawn that needed mowing? Don was your man. He uncomplainingly filled in wherever there was a task he could do. He treated every service for the Lord as a great privilege, and however menial or demanding the task, he did it with a smile. Don’s wife had the same heart. Together, they served the Lord in many capacities — right up until the day they stepped into Glory and received their eternal rewards.

Their example as dedicated servants of God made a lifelong impression. They made it a priority to have their children develop their God-given talents and take an active part in the church’s youth activities. Don even worked a second job as a school bus driver so his children could take music lessons, in order to participate in the music outreach of the church.

It probably will not come as a surprise to know that, looking further back, Don’s parents were also faithful Christians. When Don was just a young boy, his mother and father sold their farm and moved their family into the city of Port Angeles, Washington, for one reason: so they could worship with people who preached that God gives victory over sin. From that point on, Don began to learn the joy of enthusiastic service for God, and he passed the heritage along to his children. He clearly knew the value of wholehearted effort in “whatsoever” he did. 

That understanding is a legacy that can be passed from one generation to the next. Are you a father? a mother? a son? a daughter? a grandparent? an employer? an employee? Today’s Scripture passage addresses all people. God has something for each of us to do. We want to do it “heartily, as to the Lord.” God will notice, and we will “receive the reward of the inheritance.”


In this section of Colossians, Paul began by singling out some of the relationships where the principles of Christian living are applied — husband and wife, parent and child, master and slave.

Many cultures at that time considered wives as property, and to show love was not thought necessary. In the Gospel, all people are valued. Therefore, when women of that time became Christians, they found a new level of freedom and respect. Even though they were in this new position, the Apostle wanted them to understand their responsibilities as wives. “Submit” was translated from a word with a military sense that meant to line up or arrange in a special order, such as by rank. The word did not denote inferiority but rather responsibility; the wife had a responsibility to allow the husband the authority of leadership. 

The husband was to lead with love, not as a dictator. He needed to treat his wife as a partner and be gentle, not harsh or bitter. The Apostle instructed that a husband should have agape love for his wife, loving as God would. Such a love was far deeper than romantic love, and was unselfish. 

Paul’s instructions to the children were short, but very broad; “Obey your parents in all things.” That little three-letter word all is defined as “every individual component of.” No option was given to pick and choose what would be obeyed. In addition, Paul said that obedience is pleasing to God. What a great incentive for obeying parents!

Fathers were instructed to avoid saying or doing anything that would discourage or exasperate (provoke) his children. Correction and discipline, when necessary, were not to be a source of provocation. 

Guidance was given to masters and servants. Slavery was common in Paul’s time. Today, his instructions would apply to employers and employees, or labor and management. Paul did not address the issue of slavery, but rather the actions of the Christians, whatever their roles. He knew that if all work was done as “unto the Lord, and not with eye service as men pleasers,” conflict management would be greatly reduced. He challenged people to work as if they were laboring for God.

Paul knew that much prayer would be needed for these believers to succeed in following his instructions, so he concluded this section with several thoughts on prayer and thanksgiving, including prayer for the ministry. 

Finally he challenged them to be examples before a needy world. The Apostle knew that the people around them would be watching their actions as well as listening to their words. He wanted what they said and did to help further the cause of the Gospel and to inspire their associates to become Christians also. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV.   Ethical: the duties of those in Christ
      B.   In family life (3:18 — 4:1)
            1.   Wives (3:18)
            2.   Husbands (3:19)
            3.   Children (3:20)
            4.   Fathers (3:21)
            5.   Servants (3:22-25)
            6.   Masters (4:1)
      C.   In prayer life (4:2-4)
            1.   The command and manner (4:2)
            2.   The content (4:3-4)
      D.   In public life (4:5-6)
            1.   Walk in wisdom and redeem the time (4:5)
            2.   Be gracious in speech (4:6)

A Closer Look

  1. What did the Apostle Paul say would happen to those who did wrong?
  2. What might be some indicators to the general public of harmony or the lack of it in a Christian family? 
  3. How can we “walk in wisdom” today?


Whatever your role in life, are you fulfilling it heartily today? Find the joy of applying the Apostle Paul’s instructions!

Reference Materials