Jesus is Enough

Colossians paints a beautiful picture of the sufficiency of Christ for salvation and the fullness of life believers have in Christ.

There was a mixing of religion in the Colossian church, with believers involved in other religious and cult practices. A false teaching had sprung within the church that faith in Christ alone was not enough for salvation. Paul’s letter to the Colossians was written to come against such wrong doctrine, as he proclaims that CHRIST IS ENOUGH.

What is seen of Christ:

Christ is seated at the right hand of God implying partnership and equality with the Father. He is labeled as the “Lord Christ” emphasizing His Lordship and ranking. The Kingdom of God belongs to the Son; indicating that He is the ruler of it. Christ is shown to be fully God and Head over all rule and authority. This includes the spiritual realm, the law and even over death.

Jesus was firstborn of creation and of the dead indicating that He was before all and the first to overcome death. It is by His resurrection that we are enabled to share in eternal life. We are also shown that Christ was the One that created all things, including those in the spiritual realm. So by “first born” Paul is not saying He was created but rather He is first in importance and was before all else.

Christ is preeminent (or over) everything. He is shown to be Head of the church/ body, above the angels and elemental spirits. He is the One that has the power to bring people into the Kingdom; not angels, spirits or any other being.

What we see we have in Christ:

Christ has all knowledge and wisdom and is the One that imparts to others. He does not hide this knowledge but has imparted to us what we need for salvation. The Father qualified them for the Kingdom of the Son. Christ also has all the power; He does the work. He chooses to work through our prayers not because He needs us but because He desires partnership with us. Praying to Jesus brings assurance of walking in the will of God; implying Christ brings about God’s will.

Living in Light of Christ’s Sufficiency:

3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The “put aways”: 

3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

The “put ons”:

3:12-17  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Christ is before all, above all, creator of all.

Jesus is enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One foot forward

“Keep going. Put one foot forward. Now the next foot. You can do it.”

Self-talk is a marvellous thing, and yet in recent times it seems to have become a somewhat gruelling task! I keep telling myself:

“Diligence. Perseverance. Endurance. Sweat it out. Diligence. Perseverance . . . ”

Where does this get me? Not very far, I’m sorry to say. These words bring to mind memories of pain, exhaustion, and a deep-seated tiredness. They make me want to give up before I start. They taunt me in to giving less than one hundred percent. They tempt me in to giving up time with my King in order to have more time for “doing”.

Have you been trusting God for a breakthrough that just won’t come? Are you chasing after a dream that seems like an ungraspable mist?

Perhaps you are praying for a loved one to come to the Lord and yet, after twenty years, it seems no closer to becoming a reality. Maybe you are struggling with finances and your pockets are only becoming thinner. Or you might be wrestling with the same old sin, such as alcoholism, or the familiar taste of fear that stops you going after what God has set before you. In such circumstances, self-talk simply does not seem enough to get you where you to your goal.

Good news is on the way! Are you ready? Here it comes . . .

God can bring you to your longed-for destination. He desires to be your strength. He desires your trust. If you are in a place of desperation, perhaps it is worth giving up trying to do it in your own strength and instead turn your eyes back to Him. I’m not saying these things can’t be achieved, only that it a far easier road when you tread it in His strength.

We can endure all things in Him. What is temporal will fade, but we wait with hope for the coming eternal Kingdom of God.

Keep walking the path He has set before you, but do not let the attainment of physical goals burden you from living with joy, looking towards the eternal. Life, peace, joy, and comfort are found in Christ! Rest in Him and draw on His strength. Allow Him to rejuvenate you.

If, like me, you are feeling tired and weary, then let those feelings serve as cues to press into God and turn your eyes back on to the things with lasting value. Our greatest call is that of heaven, in the company of our loving Father.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14).

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21).

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice . . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7).

Knee Jerk Reactions

Babies are born with natural reflexes. Some of these fade, some of them change, and others can be dominated by will and practise. We can build motor patterns in our brain, which enable some movements to become automatic, and thus faster and more precise. Consider when you write your name: you no longer have to think about it. When you take a mouthful of potato at dinner you do not think: “grasp fork, stab piece of potato, lift arm, close mouth . . .” These are now automated responses.

The same should be true in how we respond to situations arising from daily life. If our earthly nature is the “natural reflex”, then the Christ-like responses will be the “developed motor patterns”. We may not know at the start of the day whether we are about to be yelled at by the boss, hugged by a stranger, laugh with a friend, have an easy run with the lights, and so forth. However, we can root ourselves in the Lord and thus respond in a way pleasing to Him.

Paul wrote:
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:22-25).

Reading Nehemiah this week has made me wonder just how much I turn first to earthly instinct and how much is my response to seek God and what is Christ-like. The more I am in the Word of God, the more my behaviour and responses imitate Christ.

Nehemiah had rooted himself in the Word of God whilst living in exile under the Persian Empire, serving the king as a cup-bearer. To him fell the task of overseeing the rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem when the Jews were allowed to return to Judah from exile. Whilst rebuilding, he faced persecution in the form of mockery, danger to his people as well as his self, and assassination attempts. How did he act in these circumstances? He fasted, prayed, encouraged the people to trust God, worked with a sword at his side, and continued to completion the work that God had set him.

Nehemiah returned to the king for a short period before receiving a second grant to return to Judah. When he returned he found his own people once again moving away from the Law of the Lord (the reason God sent the Jews into exile in the first place). What did he do? He acted once more in fear of the Lord and fervour for His Law. He cast out of their roles those walking in disobedience and planted God-fearing men in their place. He consistently chose fear of God over fear of man.

How did these responses become second nature to him? How did they become his automated responses? He studied the Law of the Lord, sought after God, prayed constantly, fasted when troubled, and put God’s priorities above his own comfort. Nehemiah lived with his eyes fixed on the Lord in reverent fear.

If we are to be delivered “out of the body of this death” as Paul puts it, then we must follow his example, and that of Nehemiah: Seek after God; Fear Him; Read His Word; Seek after His truths: and Mediate on Christ.

Never have I ever . . .

Those who have played the game “never have I ever” will know the purpose is to think of things others in the group will have done, which you have not. For example, “Never have I ever (drag raced, gotten a tattoo, received a “D” grade, . . .)”. You start with all fingers (and thumbs) up as counters and one is dropped each time you’ve done one of the mentioned actions.

Why am I sharing about this game? Let’s just say that in Christian circles it must be somewhat –censored – and can become a bit dull if there are no creative thinkers in the group. It is a “get to know you” game and often the ones who lose all their counters first are those who have experienced life “in the world” before they became Christians. Commonly, these are also the people thought to have lived the most interesting life.

Many believers who have grown up as Christians look at their testimony as being rather boring, too. God did not pull them out of drugs, alcoholism, wild partying, hurtful pranks . . . They never experienced the world apart from with Christ. Yet I ask: HOW can we make this sound like a bad thing? It is a beautiful, glorious blessing!

And to think life in Christ is boring shows that one has not received a true revelation of the Lord, or what He did for us!

I propose the game be changed to things we have experienced. We could share of: the transformation He has accomplished in us; prayers we have seen answered; healings and miracles; times He has overwhelmed us with His compassion; visions He has given; dreams, prophecies, or times of intercession lasting through the night; spontaneous worship sessions; baptisms; His miraculous provision in dire circumstances; what following Him has cost us – and what we have received; reconciliation that He initiated; freedom; the revealing and living out of our passions; the knowledge we have purpose and were created in the image of God . . . Do I need to go on?

Paul says it well:

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:20-21).

Why do many within the church still speak lovingly of how they lived before Christ? If such a way of living gave you life, then go back to it. If you can not see that you were dead in those ways, then why come to Christ?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25).

In Christ we receive LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL!

Let us no longer live as slaves. Let us no longer look upon the slaves as somehow better off. Let them have their momentary, and unfulfilling, pleasures. Let us who know Christ live in the joy of our salvation.

I know that my life certainly has not been boring since turning fully to God! He had freed me to walk in my passions; to pursue my dreams; to seek the extraordinary in life.

If you can not see life now as better than it was without Him, then pray that God will give you a greater revelation. Ask Him to take you on a grand adventure. Stop looking back and start looking forward. Forget the “never will I evers” and seek the glories of God.