Have you ever wandered right into a sliding glass door, or seen a dog or cat do it when they bolt toward the backyard to get outside? Or as Pastor Mike Halstead described in his sermon regarding one of the missionaries he interacted with in Alaska this last week, how about running into an actual moose?! (Don’t worry if it’s not the latter, that just means you are in the same boat as pretty much everyone else on the planet).
How about unexpectedly running directly into God?
I recently heard someone say that to be good at identifying counterfeit money, you must spend a lot of time with the real thing. Without knowing what genuine money looks and feels like, you may not notice the difference. And so we are back at the question above: Can you identify God in your life well enough to avoid being taken by surprise when He shows up right in front of your face?
Have you experienced His great love, grace, and mercy in your life, however big or small it might have been?
See, for those who do have a relationship with Jesus, there is something that becomes very clear as we walk with Him. He is not hidden at all. He is right in front of our faces, and by our sides, at every moment in our lives, always. We may not always see Him, but His presence is known to us. And part of the reason goes back to exactly how Paul starts out this passage we looked at this week in Colossians 2:6 (ESV), when he reminds us of this:
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
The key is right at the end … we can “abound” in “thanksgiving” because as we get to know Jesus better, we begin to see more clearly how much He’s done for us, and the extent to which He loves us. It is one of the wonderful realities of a walk with Jesus. And one of the most profound reasons this is so, is because our grasp on His identity becomes less a theory, or that “glass sliding door” we might not see, and more like the One that saves us from ourselves and our sin. We begin to understand He intimately knows our hearts’ deepest needs, which is what makes Colossians 2:9–12 (ESV) such a stirring depiction of what has been done for us.
For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
But if that were not enough to highlight the hope we have in Jesus, there is even more we are promised when we die to ourselves and become united with Him. Whatever we have done in the past becomes but a distant memory. And whatever God has planned for us in the future ends up a delightful mystery we take part in for His glory. God makes us new, again, as was always meant to be before sin came in and sullied our world. We are united with God … once and for all. What kept us apart from Him because of the choices Adam and Eve made back in the Garden of Eden is no more. Death is no longer of any consequence for those of us who follow Jesus.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. (Col. 2:13-15, ESV)
May we never forget: God is there. He’s right in front of us, and He wants to intimately walk with us for the rest of our lives. He also wants us to “abound” in “thanksgiving” as we continue to see the ways He has saved us through His Son, Jesus Christ. The truth is that whatever we thought “good” looked like before, God’s deepest desire for us is “best”—unmatched by anything that attempts to take His place.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- What might the “philosophy” and “empty deceit, according to human tradition,” be that Paul is referring to in this passage?
- What does it mean to be “buried with [Jesus] in baptism,” and how does that lead people to be “raised with Him through faith?”
- How are people “made alive in Christ?”
- Have you ever been baptized? And if not, why not? Do you understand why baptism is important? (If you want to be baptized, or have any questions about it, please let us know).
- Are you walking with Jesus? If so, how has that changed you? If not, what’s keeping you from starting that journey? (And if you have questions about how that works, please don’t hesitate to reach out).
“BETTER THAN” – OUR STUDY OF COLOSSIANS IN REVIEW …