Rewards for Spiritual Work

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Matt Bennett is founder and CEO of Christian Union, a Christian leadership development organization. A native of Houston, Texas, Matt earned B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Cornell University and holds a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He resides in New York City.

What do you consider as spiritual work, and did you know that there are rewards for spiritual work? Not that you ever earn your salvation, but spiritual work is real, and you can benefit from it. It's motivational when you know what it is and how the benefits can apply to you and to others. My name is Matt Bennett, I'm with Christian Union. We focus on Christian leadership development at university campuses and with adults in New York City, and across the country through Christian Union Day and Night.

It can be really, really rewarding when you know what spiritual work can do and how things can change around you, because of labor and effort that you put in. It becomes very motivational. In Colossians 4, we're going to look at a couple of aspects of spiritual work. I'm going to read this passage. It's two verses, Colossians 4:12-13. "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis."

I want to mention two things about this passage. The first part is that the Scriptures affirm that this is work. Epaphras was doing work. It says he was struggling on their behalf—that is, the Colossians whom Paul was writing this to—he was struggling on their behalf in their prayers and then it says... In the next verse it says, "he has worked hard for you." So it is work at times to pray. But like all work, there are rewards to it, and there are benefits to it. And this is the second part of this passage that is very noteworthy: "He does it for a reason," it says, "that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God."

What this passage teaches then, is that as we put in the effort and the energy and the work of praying for other people and praying for ourselves, it helps. It changes things. It makes a difference in the spiritual realm. As you pray for the United States during this pandemic, as you pray for the well-being of other people, as you go to God with these things and spend the effort, you take the time, even when it's not easy, it makes a difference. It helps people to, one, stand mature in God, and then, be assured—fully assured—in all the will of God. That is, that they walk in righteousness and faith and devotion to the Lord in every way.

If this has not been characterizing your life, then of course the Lord always receives us when we repent. Just say, "Lord, forgive me for not doing this work and thereby benefiting other people and myself. I repent of it. Give me the faith and strength to pray regularly for the well-being of my loved ones, for my family, for my city, for the nation. So that You're glorified in all these different ways." We need prayer more than ever at this time of national crisis. So please join with me and so many others in praying regularly, hard, day and night, every morning and every night, so that our Lord Jesus Christ would be praised, and that we get the benefits of seeing people mature in the Lord and obeying Him, and having the faith and strength to obey Him. Thank you, and God bless.

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