Tag Archives: Colossians

In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

col 2-3.jpgThat’s what Colossians 2:3 says.  Have you ever really thought about that verse?  It’s come to my mind quite a bit lately, like when I’m really stumped.   What I think it means is that when we need wisdom and knowledge we can turn to the treasure chest of wisdom and knowledge–Jesus.

The more we delve into Him, the more wisdom and knowledge we find.  Colossians 2 as a whole talks about things that I’m not sure we really know what they mean.  I memorized the book of Colossians years ago and I review it occasionally on the way to work.  This week I’ve been on verses like the one above, as well as verse 9-10: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”  Teach me O God.

I’m am Elementary Principal by trade.  Quite often I face things more complicated than I prefer.  I don’t know if I’m looking to coast now that I’m in my late fifties, but things have gotten so much more complicated with broken down families, law suit hungry people and mental illness that’s maybe demonic affliction but disguised by diagnosis’s if all sorts.

This last week had some of those days where I really needed the treasure chest of Jesus’ wisdom and knowledge.   I guess I can’t really go into much detail, but I can say that as I tried to deal with a very disturbing situation, Colossians 2:3 was on my mind.  I bought some time by walking down the hall to get coffee and I walked and prayed that God would show me the answers I was looking for, because in Christ we have all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge—claiming that verse.

Slowly all parties involved worked through the situation, first with the boy and the school counselor, then his dad.  In the middle of that next night I felt God give me more insight into the boy’s psyche and how to approach the consequences and follow up.  My answers from God weren’t lightning bolts but I got through the day with about ten other side issues swirling simultaneously and can say  that this week was a “win.”

 


Salt and Light

salt and light

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4:5-6

This is the lyrics to a song by Lauren Daigle, “Salt and Light.”

You make righteous those who seek, You have written and redeemed my storyLet my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around, Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name;  Let my life be a song, revealing who You are, For You are salt and light

Oh, the love that set me free, You bring hope to those in need; You have written and redeemed my story, Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around; Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name

Let my life be a song, revealing who You are, For You are salt and light; You are love’s great height, You are deep and wide; A consuming fire, You are salt and light, You are…

“Salt and Light”  Click here for the You Tube song

This song has captured my thoughts lately.  The idea is that God is salt and light.  As believers, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit.  He is writing our redemption story and He is also emanating His character through us.  2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that God: “through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

God be salt and light through me.  Work in me Your character and use me in the lives of the people around me.  Make my life be a song, revealing who You are.  Just how that looks is described in Colossians 4:1-2, so let’s take it apart:

  • Walk in wisdom toward outsiders (unbelievers).  James 1 tells us if we need wisdom we should ask for it in faith, and God will give it to us.  We need God’s wisdom everyday, so give Him your specific situations that you encounter and ask Him how to make you salt and light as you go about your day.  Ask God to prompt you about when to speak and when to be quiet, and how to speak truth into people’s lives.
  • Making the best use of time.  We should have a game clock that we keep our eye on, just like a quarterback does, or the one handling the ball in basketball.  Just when you think you have all kinds of time to tell someone about Jesus, or to make a messy relationship better, or to grow in certain areas of our lives, the time ticks off.  Jesus said in John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent Me.  Night is coming when no one can work.”  
  • Let your speech always be gracious, or “full of grace,” NIV.  That means we consciously look for ways to build people up, not just encouraging but sometimes rebuking, correcting and teaching.  I have praying lately that God’s peace, hope and grace would overflow from me to others.  Look for the good in people and situations and be quick to point it out.  Be the kind of person others want to be around.
  • Seasoned with salt.  Salt is a disinfectant and a preservative.  It also adds flavor.  Speaking truth would be a disinfecting and preserving thing.  If people are bashing things that are clearly contrary to God’s way, praying quickly for God’s wisdom, look for a way to say something that is graceful, but truth.  Being salt might be doing the right thing even when others are taking the low road.
  • Knowing how to answer each person.  That takes God’s wisdom.  Ask Him to show you how to deal with your annoying relative or the opinionated co-worker.  Look for ways to speak into people’s lives and to share what Jesus has done in your life.

“Oh, the love that set me free, You bring hope to those in need; You have written and redeemed my story, Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around; Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name.”

 


Let the word dwell in you richly

dwell

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.”  Philippians 3:16

Today’s verse starts off with the word “let.”  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.  That gives the idea that we are to allow it to, to give the word permission or access to our hearts and lives.  It is then something within our control, not outside of it.  So many times I hear people say that they try to read the Bible, but they just can’t understand it.  Or they say they just can’t memorize.  Then others say they just don’t have time in their day to read, study, memorize or meditate on the Bible.

But then if I were to ask  sports fans about their favorite team, they can rattle off all kinds of statistics and facts about games and players.  Hunters can tell an endless facts about the animals that are their favorite targets.  And quilters can give a mini seminar on how to “stitch in the ditch” or say what book and page their favorite pattern is on.  I wonder why that is.  If we could just apply the same devotion and enthusiasm to the word of Christ.

Here are three things that I have found that help me to have the word of Christ dwell in me.

1.   When I read, I underline, highlight, take notes and journal about what I am reading.  There are studies that say when you write something down with your hands (and not a keyboard) you can remember it better because it is forming a pathway in your brain.  I have been journaling with quiet time notes since I was 18.  That means I have 36 years of notebooks and journals.  Occasionally I go back and read them.  I am refreshed at how God has worked in my life in ways that I forgot about.  I include my prayer items in my journals, application thoughts and ways that the Scripture jumped out at me.  It’s never too late to start a quiet time journal.

2.   I make memorizing a part of my life.  I have been memorizing verses, chapters and books of the Bible since I was young.  I just finished memorizing the book of 2 Timothy.  I have to go back and review old verses to keep them in the front of my mind.  I keep note cards with verses written on them, little post it notes, big ones, you name it.  If I want to put something into practice or remember a promise in a difficult time, I put those verses wherever I can.

3.  When I read the Bible, I expect God to speak to me.  I look for how what I am reading applies to my life.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the Word is living and active,” and 2 Timothy 3:17 says that Scripture equips us for every good work and makes us mature, or complete.  If you feel inadequate to do something, get into the Bible more and see if that equipping changes things.

Finally, Colossians 3:16 instructs us to admonish one another with all wisdom.  That must be a way of putting the Word into practice.  To admonish means to “reprimand, rebuke, scold, advise, or to recommend,” according to dictionary.com.  2 Timothy 3:16 relays that Scripture is profitable for teaching, for correcting and rebuking, as well as training in righteousness.  Perhaps the key words are “with all wisdom.”  In other words, you need the leading of the Holy Spirit to be at work when it comes to admonishing.

Billy Graham used to use the phrase, “the Bible says,” quite often in his sermons.  Instead of our wisdom being from Dr. Phil or our own storehouse, it is good to speak Scripture to one another as a means of encouragement and instruction.  Maybe that should be one of our go-to phrases as well.  And sometimes it is admonishing when Scripture is simply shared that relates to a particular situation.  Because the Word is living and active, the Holy Spirit can take it from there.

May the Word of Christ dwell in you richly today as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.

 


Let peace be your umpire

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  umpire safe.jpgAnd be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

The first thing to notice here is that it reads that the peace of Christ should rule in your hearts. That suggests that the peace of Christ should be the ruler collectively in the body of Christ, not just in our own lives individually.  When there is a dispute in the body then, the prevailing rule of the thumb should be figuring out what will benefit peace and not cause strife, conflict, or division.  Sometimes it is so easy to get fired up about what truth is at stake that peace loses out.  Ephesians 4:3 backs this up.  Paul writes, “(be) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “

The word for “rule” is the only time it is used in the New Testament. What it refers to is an Olympic judge; the guy that would award a medal or disqualify an athlete from his prize. This guy was the umpire. You can argue all you want but the umpire is the one that gets to make the call.  (cited from http://www.mikeleake.net)  Peace is the umpire.  If peace is sacrificed, then drop it.

You may think important things might get diminished, or compromised.  But yet, it seems like most rifts aren’t about whether or not Jesus is the only way to God or other crucial doctrinal tenants.  Most conflicts are over hurt feelings, pride, jealousy or matters of preference.   If I am growing in the Lord and able to look beyond my own interests, then I should be able to let someone else’s opinion or preference win out.  Keeping peace is so much more important than me being right or getting my way.  That’s the more mature option.

It is easier to take that option if you have learned to let the peace of Christ rule in your own life.  James 3:14-18 reads, But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

There are some Christians that have chaos ruling their lives, not peace.  It could stem from having jealousy and selfish ambition that are not surrendered to God.  There is most likely bitterness and pride that needs to get renounced.  Those people are difficult to be around because they aren’t  aware that the real problem isn’t what everyone is doing to them, but what their own bitterness and jealousy is doing.  Disorder results.

And be thankful!  Thankful people are hard to bring down.  They are quick to point out the things we have in common, rather than to focus on the dividing points in the body.  Thankful people are the opposite of those who have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Are you thankful?

Take a look inside and see if you have surrendered all of your bitter jealousy and selfish ambition to the Lord so that the peace of Christ can be the umpire in your heart.

 


Dress for Success

put off, put on.jpgPut 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.  Colossians 3:12-13

Paul tells us to put on compassion, kindness, etc. He doesn’t tell us to ask God to work that in us.  It is something we must do.    This idea of putting on and putting off has been mentioned before by Paul.  In Ephesians 4:22, 24  he commands us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to “Put off your old self…and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness.”

Earlier in Colossians 3 Paul gave a list of what to put away: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed.  But wait, there’s more!  Anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk and telling lies.   I get depressed looking at what I need to put off, just like I would feel if I just tried to stop all of my bad habits and only focused on that.

In Romans 13:14  Paul simply says to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We are believers and we need to dress like it, and to fight like it.  Galatians 3:27 says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Putting on Christ has  already been done for us.  But Colossians 3 instructs us to daily put on and put off a lot of things.  I like the symbolism, but it gets tricky in figuring out how to do it.

My answer:  In Ephesians 6 we’re told to put on the armor of God.  We do that in prayer, trusting that as we say each piece it is arming our spirit man with a helmet, breastplate and the rest.  Then  I am dressed to do battle for the day.  We are in a spiritual war.  Our battle is not only Satan, but it is against our own fleshly desires that wage war against our soul, as 1 Peter 2:11 puts it.  It is a battle to put off anger, wrath, malice and slander and to instead put on compassion, humility and patience.  It takes an active response to send away bitter thoughts and resentments and to choose to forgive.  In doing that, I am putting on forgiveness.

As I drive to work most days, I pray and consciously put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  I pray through what I know is ahead of me and think of the people I need to talk to or address something with.  I pray that God would work His love through me, as well as His wisdom and creativity in situations where I am stuck.  When I am consciously pursuing a healthy diet, I must put down the chips and pick up the veggies.  It’s a mindset that we must cultivate in both situations.

We belong to God, we are holy and dearly loved, and we must actively take a hold of the life that befits a child of God.  Today, put off the habits of the sinful nature.  Tell them to get lost.  Now, put on kindness, compassion, gentleness, forgiveness and love.