God decided to let his people know just how rich and glorious that truth is. That secret truth, which is for all people, is that Christ lives in you, his people. He is our hope for glory. So we continue to tell people about Christ. We use all wisdom to counsel every person and teach every person. We are trying to bring everyone before God as people who have grown to be spiritually mature in Christ. To do this, I work and struggle using the great strength that Christ gives me. That strength is working in my life.Colossians 1:27-29, Easy to Read Version
In the Bible I use most frequently, this Colossians paragraph has a heading, “Paul’s Labor for the Church,” which I think is very apropos for Advent. It reminds me of Mary’s uncomfortable yet necessary labor, bringing a savior into our world. A labor of love given to an inexperienced 14 year old. It’s a really big deal, isn’t it?
When Paul writes his letter to the church in Colossae (in Turkey), he is in jail in Rome. He writes that he toils and struggles with all the energy that God powerfully inspires in him. For Paul, this toil is so intertwined with the love he has for Jesus, I believe he would describe it as joy! Huh. Really?
What’s all this “joy” he’s so eager to share?
First, he wants to let the gentiles of Colossae know that God is doing a new thing; He’s making a direct connection through Jesus with, not only His chosen people, the Israelites, but the gentiles as well! This is a really new idea for people of that time.
Paul is saying that God’s hope (God’s ultimate plan that we all are involved in) and God’s glory (God’s brilliant splendor and presence) are for ALL mankind, the gentiles included. Yay!
Second, and here’s the mind-blowing part – Paul says Jesus is in us! Let’s stop and think here. Jesus, God incarnate, pure love itself, is in us; overflowing joy, hope, and love, right here. In us. Right now.
Sit still with it awhile.
My heart swells with the idea. I feel humbled and a bit overwhelmed. The reason I feel this way is because I am getting to know Jesus and what he does. Mainly, he loves. Everyone.
It’s become my focus and task to try to love Everyone. Not easy, girl. But I know if I do it, that mind-blowing realization of hope that Paul was so fervently spreading will keep growing and growing inside me. And then it will spread to everyone. Now that’s a reason to be joyful if I ever heard one!
I love YOU!
Dear loving Creator, thank you for the example of Jesus, who loves with abandon. Help us to connect the joy we feel in our lives to you, and inspire us to spread that love and joy to all people. Amen.
Laurie Sykes lives in Vancouver, Washington
I’ve been teaching Sunday School kiddos for forty-one years and counting! I am retired, which means: jeans & t-shirts, hammer & nails, weed-wackers & audiobooks.