This time of year where I live in West Michigan it’s easy to get complacent about the Christian life. For people who aren’t away on vacation, it’s the doldrums, “the dog days of summer.” Whether we’re on vacation or not, by nature we’re fickle. We have short memories. It’s easy to forget that Easter is the center of human history. It’s God’s cure for the summertime blues, not to mention much more important things.
The moment of Jesus’ greatest weakness was in reality the moment of Jesus’ greatest power, as demonstrated on Easter morning. The resurrection turned the taunt table on all the evil powers. Jesus won, and by the grace of God, we share in his glorious victory. Why then would we allow ourselves to be distracted by the ruses of the very spiritual powers Jesus defeated?
We don’t need a spiritual fad diet to start off 2023. Jesus keto-gummies aren’t going to cut it for us. What we need is to get re-centered on our role in God’s grand narrative to reconcile the world to himself by forming a new humanity in Christ.
Paul’s pastoral concern in Colossians 1:24-2:5 does just that. Paul summons us to grasp the amazing revelation of God’s grace in bringing all humanity—Jews and Gentiles alike—into the family of God through Jesus the Jewish Messiah. Have you given serious thought lately to the sheer grandeur of God’s plan to bring messianic shalom to the whole world? Have you prayerfully reflected on the part God is calling you to play in that plan?
Don’t settle for a diminished Jesus this Christmas! Let’s wrap our whole selves in worship around the One in whom all divine fullness dwells, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. Let’s approach the manger in amazement that it was the beginning of a faithful life that led all the way to the cross, the empty tomb, and back to glory at the right hand of God. Let’s ponder how the one who created us in his image graciously became one with his creation, displaying all the fullness of God during his life on this earth. Let’s glory in the confidence that when he took on our flesh and blood he destroyed the devil and delivered us from the fear of death. Come, let’s adore him, Christ the Lord.
While we should always give thanks for the blessings God gives us, our gratitude should ultimately be for the grace that has opened our eyes to realize our need of Christ. Whatever material blessings we have or lack are from the providence of a good and faithful God. Our bounty is not the fruit of our hard work, self-sufficiency, and national superiority.
Although Colossians is known primarily for its profound teaching about Jesus in chapter 1, it was written to solve a pastoral problem. There was danger! The Colossians were being enticed by counterfeit teachings about angels and rules they needed to follow in order to have a fully satisfying relationship with God.
Just like the Colossians, we hear enticing narratives today that promise us fulfillment but subtly draw us away from our participation in the Easter victory of Jesus, in whom all the fulness of deity dwells. As we study Colossians together, we pray to the Father that the Holy Spirit will exalt Jesus by convincing us that we are complete in him, and that He is sufficient to meet all our needs and to equip us to live out our new identity in Him in our family relationships, in our church, and in the world.
So, let’s study Colossians!
Btw, the image above is courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez at Unsplash.