READ IT SLOW: Highlighting points of Guidance in Colossians
PART 5: “Be Firm”
Colossians (Kol-ah-shuns) is an epistle from the Apostle Paul and Timothy that speaks directly to living after the nature of Jesus Christ. I hope these points of guidance serve you, are edifying, and help you in bringing honor to the Lord Jesus. Please join me as we read and remember you can leave remarks in the comment section on this page.
Read Slowly. Read with purpose. Don’t rush.
Colossians 2:2-3 (NET)
“My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ,” 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
To be a Christian is to share in the joy and struggle of growing into and proclaiming Christ. Accomplished by following His instruction and in so doing teaching about the glory that resides in the Christian. Christ has ascended to the Father yet through Christians His ministry continues in the same power and authority. His ministry continues primarily through the lifestyle manifest in love seen in His people; the Church.
The goal is to firmly reveal the mystery within the Christian and Paul’s goal thereby is that the Colossians (and us in reading his letter) understand what God has entrusted to us by indwelling the Christian heart with the Mystery of God.
Read Slowly. Read each word in context. Don’t rush.
Colossians 2:6 (NET)
“Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
I think we should notice that Paul makes a differentiation between “received Christ” and “continue to live in Christ.” Faith is included in each, but I think it is safe to say it is one thing to “receive Christ,” but it is through the firm “continuance of faith” that we do His will.
Jesus Himself said (when his mother and brothers came to speak to Him): “For whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50, NIV). He also says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, NIV). Paul here is saying don’t just receive Jesus and call Him Lord, but just as you received Him as Lord, so live.
What does that mean?
When we continue to live for Christ, then you will reveal the mystery of Christ because you will be living as Christ lived and thereby doing God’s will.
We do not do this perfectly for we are still learning ourselves. Paul gives a warning a few verses later about empty deceitful philosophy. I take his statement (printed below) to mean any philosophy that does not help you in the pursuit of reflecting Christ’s nature is empty or has no value.
He says that in the following verses:
Colossians 2:20-23 (ESV):
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations – 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 ( referring to things that all perish as they are used) – according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
What do these verses mean?
What do we follow in our lives that has no value?
What spirits of this world influence us away from Christ and in so do we permit their under their control in our lives?
Firm self-denial is not simply treating yourself harshly. Firm self-denial is not letting others be hard on you. Firm self-denial is turning from self-preservation as a primary focus and following Christ’s example loyally. Follow His teachings.
Plus, we must keep in mind the Apostle Paul is speaking to people coming out of at least the beginnings of Gnostic-influenced teaching in Colossae. Don’t think such false teaching is not still with us today!
Just because someone comes saying they speak for Christ doesn’t mean they can be trusted!
We are told in the Bible to test the spirits (see 1 John chapter 4). Self-interest on our part or on the part of others should not have superiority in the teaching we follow. The reality is we have needs. We live in a world full of deceit. But in that world, the Christian is called to be true among all the lies. So, as it is said in Hebrews 12:2, we must fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must also understand Christ once said, “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16 NET). Jesus spoke this to His 12 disciples, but it does have life application for our daily walk.
Conformity must be to Christ alone, and such living is known not to be empty. Through not because it meets our needs in the here and now primarily, but because Christ has resurrected from death.