I love to read.
When I open the cover of a new book, I am filled with a sense of awe–like I am setting out on a new adventure.
Turning the page of a book is like opening the door to something yet undiscovered.
And then life happens.
At some point you have stop, put down the book and get back to the real world. Places to go, things to accomplish, and bills to pay. Unlike a novel, this is real life. People get sick, lose jobs, have failed marriages and face uncertain futures.
I love that phrase, because all through scripture–right in the middle of the mess, God steps in. He takes all of our worldliness and brokenness and turns it into something useful. Something valuable.
“But God proves His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners Christ Died for us!” Romans 5:8
Opening the pages of the Bible in our search for truth, it is easy to see that some parts of God’s Word are harder to swallow than others. Because this is not a novel. This is the living, breathing Word of God. It is history, theology, and philosophy all rolled up into one. While there are those who will see the Bible as just a book of rules, the letter written in the book of Colossians makes it very clear that those rules were not the substance of this treasure we call The Bible:
“Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.” Colossians 3:16-17
“No Bible book more explicitly teaches that Jesus is fully God…” and that “Any understanding of salvation which is ‘Jesus plus’ is defective. Good works, keeping Jewish law, accepting certain philosophical principles, and other positive human accomplishments cannot add anything to what Jesus has already achieved.” [Introduction to Colossians, Holman Illustrated Study Bible, pp. 1727-28]
To put it simply, Christ alone can offer salvation and the promise of eternity.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory! ” Colossians 1:27
Colossians is so much more than a book to be read and put on a shelf. More than a list of dos and don’ts, it illustrates for us what Christian living looks like. The centrality of Christ, His divine nature, and His authority over creation demonstrate for believers the reason why we are called to “walk worthy of the Lord” (Chapter 1, verse 10)–because HE is worthy! While none of us are worthy by our own merit, we can walk, or live, in a way that honors Him as our Creator, Savior and Sustainer.
Christian living is just plain hard if we try to do it in our own strength.
Living for Christ involves letting go of our pride and our self-sufficiency as we learn to trust in Him. It’s not difficult to find the answer to your questions if all you want to know is what is right and what is wrong–the real struggle comes when we are faced with a decision:
Will I go my way or God’s way?
Life does happen. We make plans, we set goals, and sometimes we succeed. But the truth is, sometimes we make bad choices. Those messes we make? God can and will redeem you. He can take all of our weaknesses and failures and use them for good if we will let Him. Those mistakes of the past? He knows. He sees. He forgives.
“He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14
Do you see? This beautiful word picture declares our debt of sin, “Paid In Full”. The next time you sing the old hymn, Amazing Grace maybe you will sing the words with even more fervor:
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
Our response to this amazing grace?
“…put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.” (Colossians 3:10)
Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep looking to Jesus for wisdom, knowledge and faith. Trust Him with your past, present and future. Give Him your heart. Keep believing that He loves you, and live in a way that honors Him.
I have read the book of Colossians over and over, and the verse that keeps jumping out at me is this one:
If you have followed my Scripture Memory Challenge, this is the verse I am memorizing from the book of Colossians–won’t you join me?
**This post was shared on the weekly Salt & Light Link-up Facebook page.