September 22, 2011 Devotion Sharing (Colossians 2)

Submitted by James K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Colossians 2:1-5
What can I learn about Apostle Paul’s heart for the church at Colosse and Laodicea from this passage?
Apostle Paul’s heart for the church at Colosse and Laodicea was all about them knowing Christ fully. He struggled for them, and even for those people he had not met in person.  But simply because of the fact that they were at that church, he would struggle for them to be encouraged and united as a church, ultimately so that they would know Christ.  Apostle Paul was “gospel-centric”, which was demonstrated in his hopes and heart for the Colossian church, so much so that he would actually struggle for them.


Do I know what it takes to “struggle” for other Christians, in order that they 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?”  What does this struggle look like?
Struggling for other Christians, I think, can take several different forms.  But all under that umbrella of being “gospel-centric” as Apostle Paul was.  It means getting into people’s lives, knowing what’s going on in their hearts and how they are living. It means praying for them, struggling in prayer over them, to receive wisdom on how to guide them, or that they would be led to repent or struggle with their sin or take steps of faith so that they could grow.  It could mean providing for them avenues through which they could take such steps of faith, or provide them contexts in which they can learn how to love other people or how to take themselves seriously as Christ followers.  It could mean being creative in trying to help them to see themselves or to align their worldview and values with the word of God, with God’s values and view.  And of course it means bringing them to the word of God, for the word to teach, correct, rebuke and train them in righteousness.  All of these things birthed out of being “gospel-centric,” myself being filled with the word and engaging in spiritual battle over myself and over them.


Are there ways that I may be trying to avoid this struggle in my life?
The ways that I could be trying to avoid this struggle in my life is by withholding myself from the people that I’m ministering to, but not wanting to get the details of information because I know that I’ll need to deal with those things.  Or perhaps by withholding myself emotionally, so that if I’m rejected by this person either leaving the church or rejecting me personally that I won’t feel the pain. The more I care about somebody, the more it hurts when that rejection happens.  I haven’t taken these avenues of avoiding this struggle, but I know that those are the ways that Satan tries to offer me.


Colossians 2:6-7
What does it mean to “just as you received Christ as Lord, continue to live in him?”
Continuing to live in Christ as I did when I first received him as Lord means to keep my relationship and love for him fresh, the place of “first love” as the song says.  It means to live out my commitment as clear as it was when I first came to him 17 years ago when I saw that I was a church-attendee, but my life was utterly indistinguishable from the rest of the world and I surrendered my life as a soldier who wants to please his commanding officer.  It means going to the word and prayer with the same zeal and expectation and hunger from my commitment when I first made it. It means to engage the world and the people God brings in my life to love them and bring the gospel to them, raising them up to be more faithful and devoted Christ followers with the same excitement as when I first made that decision.


It means for me to be faithful with that which I’ve been given with the same energy as I started out running with.  That translates into leading the seniors and staff in Kairos to greater faith, greater commitment, teaching them how to love God, love others by bringing them the gospel, by embodying the gospel, and by loving one another within the church as well, the corporate embodying of the gospel.  It means to provide for them opportunities to grow, avenues through which to experience a greater prayer life, a heightened sense of ownership over the people of their generation and in their contexts.
And of course, it means bringing the gospel to all the new people that God has led to our group, as so many of them are just finding out about Christianity through Kairos, or just simply enjoy being with us.  That’s such an opportunity to bring them the life-saving, life-changing good news of the gospel.

Reflect on the words “rooted and built up in him,” “strengthened in the faith as you were taught,” “overflowing with thankfulness.”  What do each of these look like? Assess how I am doing in each of these areas.
Being rooted and built up in him means going to the word and allowing for it to work its way through me and out into how I live my life, the decisions that I make, the reactions and responses I have to different situations in my life.  Being strengthened in the faith as I was taught means to put into practice the ways of love that have been poured out for me.  As my leaders spent time with me, got into my life, guided me, answered my questions, exhorted me, encouraged me, demonstrated Godly values and choices to me through their lives… likewise I am to strengthen my own faith in these ways by living likewise.  And overflowing with thankfulness is to reflect, remember, realize all the ways that God has loved me through my life and continues to do so on an ongoing basis.


I think with regard to overflowing with thankfulness, that’s something that isn’t so strong in me.  I go through my days, my weeks needing to get things done, or at least have that mentality.  A lot of times my heart and mind doesn’t take the opportunity to marvel at what God has done and is doing.  I take time weekly to reflect over all that I have to be thankful for, which is something that I greatly benefit from.  That’s something that I need to discipline myself to do on a daily basis, so that I’m overflowing with thankfulness.
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