“Attaining to all the wealth..” verse 2. Does this passage support the prosperity gospel of today’s TV evangelists? No…this reference has nothing to do with material gain. Wealth relates to the invisible characteristics that are ours in Christ. Kindness, love, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, peace, faith, humility, gentleness, patience…all of these qualities are available to us through Christ.
Romans 2:4 says, “do you think lightly of the riches…?” We settle for so much less when we focus on material gain. It is trading fresh, flowing water for broken, stagnant cisterns. (Jeremiah 2:3) Paul longed for the Colossians to know all of these characteristics of Christ and for them to grow and mature in their lives. A relationship with Christ is not complete if we just know Him. Growing in Christ-like character is essential for life…a life that is healthy and pleasing to God. Go back to Paul’s prayer in chapter 1…”so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” Are you?
Is this a way of saying, “I’ve got you on my mind” or, “I feel like we’re close” or, “I support you”? For Paul, it wasn’t a metaphor. He understood that for those who live as apprentices of Jesus, space and time will prevent neither intimacy nor the strength and comfort and courage that intimacy produces. Jesus said much the same thing when he told his disciples (and us), “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” The Holy Spirit carries the very presence of Christ as close to us as if he were still present in the flesh. The Holy Spirit will do the same for us with one another. When we think of and pray for brothers and sisters not in proximity, we can begin to experience presence with each other.
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
These verses are a real encouragement to me as I think about our faith journey. Receiving Christ is an end in itself, but it is also the beginning of our new life journey. Now we are being rebuilt, our knowledge of His kingdom and purpose should grow as we are given access to the fullness of Christ. Our faith must not be a stagnant one, but, rather, one that is growing, active, and seeking opportunities to serve.
Then don’t miss how this passage ends. Recognizing the new life within us should be a cause for great joy. We should be filled with thanksgiving for this new found purpose. Get out, live your faith, give thanks to God.
Paul is completely committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
“I do my share on behalf of His body” (v.24)
“so that I might fully carry out” (v.25)
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man” (v.28)
“For this purpose also I labor, striving” (v.29)
These descriptions are not the limited to a generational missionary. These are the life of a man filled with the Holy Spirit living out the great commission. We cannot read these as a beyond us, because they are not. We are fully capable of the same work in the might of Jesus Christ, and such is our call.
Paul expresses the mission of the church when he wrote, “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the church.” Of course, we know there is no lack in the Cross (Jesus’ death) to forgive sinners, but there is lack in the spread of its message. Paul was fulfilling what Jesus had commissioned him to do from the beginning, to extend the message of Christ’s afflictions beyond Jerusalem into the rest of the world.
And yet, there is still more to be done.
Just like Paul, we have been commissioned to finish the task. We must extend the message of the Cross far and wide regardless of cost, until every tribe and tongue has had a chance to glory in the power of the Cross.
What part does FBCSA play in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions? What part do you play?
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:24-29 (day five) “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” Paul’s goal for his ministry is that every believer would be complete (mature) in Christ. So for Paul’s part, this will require proclaiming Christ, admonishing and teaching believers. What about the believers’ part? To become mature in the faith, believers must be willing to do their part. If there is effective admonishing, there must be believers who are humble and moldable. If there is effective teaching, there must be believers who are eager and willing to learn. Praise God for pastors and leaders who do their part (proclaim, admonish, teach)! Will we be faithful to do our part, so that we may be complete and mature in Christ?
How do you define discipleship? Is it a set of rules or a checklist of actions to perform? (Older Baptists remember the Broadman 8-point checklist on our offering envelopes as a child.) For Paul, discipleship was a relationship. His ministry was to make Christ known to all people…Gentiles as well as Jews. To be complete in Christ is to allow Christ to live His life through you. It is not living the Christian life…it is Jesus living through you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What do people see when they observe your life? Do they see a devoted person living a disciplined, well-ordered life, based on Godly principles? Or, do they see the power of Christ shining through a surrendered life? When we accept Christ as our Savior, God places in us the means to accomplish everything He asks us to do. The Holy Spirit empowers us and lives through us. There is a difference!
When we read Paul, we’re reading someone who had become intimately familiar with the vast, unseen side of reality that many people—most, it seems—don’t see, don’t understand, aren’t aware of, or aren’t convinced exists. If one of those descriptions fits you, you’re certainly not alone. If you find yourself doubtful but wanting to know more, skeptical but willing to investigate further, then Paul writes for you. He imagines you as one who grows in your understanding of this unseen realm, coming to know more and more firmly the God who is at the center of it all. If that sounds like something worth turning your life towards, then you know why Paul thought his sufferings were worth it. Good news costs an awful lot to deliver into this world. Read on.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:24-29(day two) To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. vs. 27
Let us proclaim the mystery of faith – thus begins an ancient prayer that is still used in many churches today. There are mysteries of faith that we will spend our earthly lives pondering about. The “why would God leave his throne to become a man” mysteries that we will not fully understand until we reach heaven. There are others, however, that we simply need to seek an answer to find. Christ in us is a matter of curiosity to non-believers. That cannot understand where our hope springs from. They may notice our worldview is radically different from the prevailing thoughts of the day, and we remain a puzzle. But this mystery is completely knowable. Christ in us is available to all. What is curiosity to some, can become reality when they truly seek Jesus. Aren’t you glad that he has revealed himself for us to know, even if there are things that still confound us?