And 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. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and 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.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But 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 - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move 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. Colossians 1:18-23
I'm not cut out for the cold. It's one of the main reasons I fled Maryland for the coast of North Carolina. I got tired of blizzards and, in turn, an aching back and frozen fingers from shoveling snow. I guess I'm becoming a true Southerner because anytime the temperature dips just a little bit I'm throwing on a sweater and grabbing for the hot chocolate.
As I type these words, a space heater under my desk keeps my feet warm. I’m not going to lie: I second-guessed giving out that bit of information because I worried a co-worker would read it and then snatch my heater up when I'm not around. Anyway, all my piggies are nice and toasted and I'm a happy man, so much so, that I don't want to get up and move.
Can you blame me? With each step I take away from it, the more I will experience a chill. There's a noticeable difference in the environment at my desk compared to the one down the hall next to the copier. The farther I go from my heater the colder it is.
In today's passage, we're encouraged to continue in our faith that is established and firm. God promises that we possess a hope that disappointment cannot erode. How do we continue in our faith? The answer is simple, yet incredibly challenging to do: BY STAYING PUT.
We tend to stray and drift. We confuse relief with true peace. When troubling circumstances come our way, we run aimlessly and eventually settle for an anxious hope, which is no hope at all. Our eyes begin to focus on how we can get ourselves out of the mess.
With every step we take, we move farther from the place where our security resides, and in turn, it makes us foolishly question His faithfulness because we don't "feel" His presence. We think He left our side and is indifferent to our situation. But, that's not true: He is in the same place; we're the ones who wandered away.
Just like the heater under my feet will continually crank out warmth regardless of whether I'm by my desk or not, God's love and faithfulness remain the same, even if we move from the hope the gospel provides. The only thing that changes is the impact we allow it to have on our lives. It can just scratch the surface, or it can make its way within us by guarding our heart and mind. The choice is up to us.
We must take our eyes off of what we are worried about and see ourselves in the care of the One that satisfies. This type of love provides the safety, security, and freedom that fuels our soul. By residing and resting in Him, we experience the warmth of His love.
What causes you to move from the hope the gospel provides?
When it comes to the places where you're experiencing disappointment, what would it look like for you to continue in your faith in Christ?
God, You never turn Your back on me. No matter how far I run, Your love never gives up on me. You welcome me home time and time again. I will rest in Your love and stand firm on Your promises. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.