colossians 2:13-23

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,[b] God made you[c] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[d]

16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

I haven’t really read Colossians in a while and I find myself struggling to keep up with it. Paul covers so much ground in just a few sentences that it can be difficult to digest the first sentence by the time I’m on the second. THe general idea, that I am grasping, is that Christ conquered the old law. I should not bind myself to the law because I belong to Jesus and not to this world. How I measure myself should be based on Jesus and not the law/rules that are no longer relevant. Again, I am feeling that I need to evaluate more closely what I believe and make sure it is based on the Bible and Jesus and not superstition, fear of the world, etc.

out of order…

The following verse was quite powerful to me:

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
James 3:9-10

It reminded me of a speech a HS English teacher gave my senior year about remembering that everyone is someone’s child. I think if we remembered that each of us is God’s creation, we’d be much nicer to one another. And more honest. And more loving. Hmmm.

colossians 2:6-12

Freedom From Human Regulations Through Life With Christ

6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature,[a] not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Sometimes I find myself believing things based on tradition. I find myself pausing and asking, “WHY?” Why do I believe what I do? For example, if I hear of two bad things happening to people, why do I think, “I wonder who the 3rd will be?” If I say something like, “XYZ is going to happen,” then I think, “Well, now it won’t happen because I said it will.” Where does stuff like that come from?? How often do I fall for the deceptive and the hollow?

Because of Jesus, I have access to a full life – not a life of deception. That is awesome.

The section of the passage that really strikes me is the part that says that Jesus is the head over all authority that is put in place. It reminds me to respect the authority that Jesus put in place.

colossians 2:1-5

1I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

Paul was not passively wishing that people might come to know Jesus – he struggled with it. He was active, not passive. It’s interesting to know that as part of the character of Paul. His dedication to praying for the Colossians and interest in their progress is impressive to me since he was likely hundreds of miles away from them.

I also noticed that when you know Jesus, the results seem to be as follows: wisdom, knowledge and order. I have a friend that often says that God is not the God of confusion. Which is funny to me because I am often confused by God, but this is really a result of my own shortcomings, inability to listen to what God is saying (usually handicapped by my own desires) and lack of constant prayer. If I know who God is, as Paul says, I will have wisdom and knowledge.

colossians 1:24-29

Paul’s Labor for the Church

24Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

This, to me, speaks of the work that we must do within the churches to help each member of the body be the best they can be. I look at how hard and how passionately Paul worked at this in the church and I believe that I must be aware of opportunities for people to build wisdom into me and for opportunities for me to work with others. Ok, and really, I am not sure what to do with this passage. Perhaps it will be clearer to me later?

colossians 1:15-23

The Supremacy of Christ

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[f] your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Paul doesn’t waste time getting down to business. God is the God of everything, and the only being able to reconcile – make good – all things on earth and in heaven. It reminds me to respect the authority God puts over me and to put all hope in God.

colossians 1:1-14

Scripture:

Colossians 1

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2To the holy and faithful[a] brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.[b]

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. 7You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our[c] behalf, 8and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[d] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption,[e] the forgiveness of sins.

I was given this verse by a woman who used to mentor me. She was fantastic and loved God greatly. Unfortunately, I was at a stage of my life where I was trying to take the leap, but struggling really with what it meant to be a Christian. I wonder sometimes, since she and I lost touch, if she ever considered that I might have gone this particular direction. But anyway, I digress.

Frank and I started talking today about why we don’t read the Bible more and both feeling convicted that we should read the Bible more. I will say that the should is not the result of some strong moral imperative, but rather, when I grow in my knowledge of God, I grow personally. When I know God, not just based on what I have heard from others, but from what He has revealed to me in His word – it becomes much easier to understand what God is saying to me.

I believe in some way, God was reminding me of this with this verse because one of the key areas that Paul is praying for the Colossians in is that they would grow in their knowledge of God.

Anyway, the other stand out piece of information I gleaned in this is the importance of prayer. I know in my head and my heart already that prayer is important and that praying for others is essential, but I know that this is an additional area of improvement. Paul says to the Colossians that he is continuously praying for the Colossians. And not only is he saying, “Oh, and God, by the way, please remember the Colossians” – rather! – Paul is praying very specifically for the Colossians.