by Gabe Bernal
Read Colossians 2:6-15
Reread it again.
When have you felt most alive?
You can go ahead and take a moment to think about the answer to that question if you like.
If you're anything like me, this can be a difficult question to ponder. We first need to answer what it means to feel alive. Is it just what is the best day of our lives, or are we talking about short-lived moments, because often those are more memorable?
Just to name a few, they might be: Our baptism, when our child is born, when we bring someone to Christ, when you took that risk, when you see someone you love succeed, when that prayer you've desperately interceded for finally gets answered.
Yes, to all of the above. Truly there is probably not one singular moment where we have felt most alive.
If you were to make a list of all the different ways and moments where you have felt most alive, you begin to discover that it's less about the moment or situations themselves, but rather attitudes or postures of the heart.
They happen when things we value like love, joy, peace, and hope (among many others) all come together to form a beautiful array of fulfilment and satisfaction.
Like the mixing of certain ingredients in our favourite meal, they come together like a kaleidoscope of flavours, and in my opinion, these moments give us a glimpse of the perfection that Heaven will provide.
It's way more than being gratified or being happy or elated. When you experience those moments, you feel most alive, those stick with you.
In this passage, Paul gives us three things we can do so that we can be most alive.
Rooted in Christ
My mother loves Cherry Blossom trees. In fact, my family took a holiday to Washington, DC, in the spring because my mother wanted to see the Cherry Blossom trees bloom there.
Seems like a weird reason to travel to DC, but to be fair, they were beautiful.
But as great as Cherry Blossoms are (or any tree for that matter), what makes them strong and enduring is not what we can see. It's the deep roots that give it life and nourish it.
Even though they are usually not very deep, the width with spread and occupy more than four (sometimes up to seven) times the width of the tree itself.
I think it's fair to say though that no matter how beautiful a tree is on the surface, it is not what can be seen but what is unseen that matters to the growth and stability of a tree.
Spiritual maturity is the same way. It's not how we look or act on the surface, but what lies underneath that matters most. The roots we grow are the foundation of our life as a Christian, just like the roots are the foundation of a tree.
What are some other things that need strong foundations?
What makes those foundations important?
The next question we need to answer to move forward is, where do we plant our roots? Luckily, Paul makes it clear:
"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" (v6-7)
One of the best tips I received about studying the letters in the New Testament (especially of Paul) when you see the word "therefore" find out what it is "there for."
Remember last week, we looked at the knowledge of God's mystery? Unlike the heretical teachings that many believed was plaguing the Colossian church, the knowledge of God is not special knowledge only for an exclusive few but for all who give their life to Jesus have access to this knowledge.
So "therefore" as we have received Christ Jesus and access to the gospel ourselves, we can then walk in him in the same ay we received Him. Because as theologian David Guzik says "We cannot perfect in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit."
What would happen if we plant our roots in the wrong place? Short term? Long term?
Paul then finishes these few verses by reminding them of what they were taught, not just in this letter, but what Epaphras (or their church planter) taught them as well.
This isn't just an encouragement for the church in Colossae, this is an encouragement to any believer who reads this letter.
Remember what you have learned from faithful teachers of the Word. Remember the gospel. Remember Jesus.
As believers in Christ, we are fellow saints that have full access to the God of the Universe. Author of creation and King of Kings. It doesn't matter where we are in our walk, we have been taught these truths and to begin to be rooted in Him, we only need to remember what we have been taught.
And once we are rooted in Jesus and His truths, the next two points will come much more natural.
Unswayed by False Gospel
Advertising is the backbone of the entertainment industry. We are inundated with adverts everywhere we go. Whether if it's on the telly, while we surf the internet, on the radio, or billboards as we drive our cars, ride the train, or walk around town.
Advertisers do this with the hope that by putting out these adverts that you will be persuaded to spend money on their thing.
Have you ever been persuaded to change or buy something because of an advert?
What would be different about your life if you were convinced by every advert you saw?
It's interesting to think about adverts, though. At first glance, they don't seem that dangerous (other than to our wallet!). Buy this thing, use this service. Seems innocent enough.
But have you ever really paid attention to what advertisers are trying to sell us? Ultimately, yes they want us to purchase their product, but if you see how they go about it, they are trying to sell us a worldview. They are trying to sell us how much this will change "everything" for you!
If you buy this, women will like you more. If you get this, people will respect you. Get this thing, and you will impress people. Drive this around and your reputation will rise.
They are trying to sell that you are not enough. What you have will not do. To attain all your hopes and dreams, you need more.
More, more, more. Marketing is engineered to make you want more: Food, materialism, sex, media... it never ends.
I've talked a lot about the false gospel being preached by other religions, but perhaps the most dangerous false gospel is what the world is preaching. In the West, this is the message that has conquered most people's hearts.
That's why Paul says we need to walk in and be rooted in Christ so that we can "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ." (v8)
Instead of more Paul is trying to show you that all we need is Christ.
Christ is sufficient. Christ is supreme over all things. Only in Him, can we find satisfaction. Why?
"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." (v9-10)
As his saints, because of Christ, we have access to the fullness of who God is.
Nothing can replace Christ.
Nothing will satisfy or fulfil us like Christ.
We need nothing more than Christ.
Christ is what Christ offers.
Abundance in Faith
"And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling 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." (v13-15)
Before we have new life, we are dead.
The life we lead before Christ, no matter what we did or how good of a person we were, was one as a "dead man walking."
There is a cliche saying about the church that it is a "hospital for the sick." But according to Paul (not just in Colossians), we are not even sick in need of a doctor. We are dead and buried.
But Romans 8:11 says "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give you life to your mortal bodies through his spirit that dwells in you."
This is excellent news! Even though we were dead and buried, once trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, the same power that raised Christ from the dead also brings us back to life!
In that power that is given to all of us who believe, we have everything we need to do what God has called us to do. We have everything we need to experience and share more moments where we can feel most alive.
In John 10:10, Jesus says "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
Most of us can look around at this world and be discouraged. All the brokenness, the hurting, the rejection, and despair. But this is where we need an abundance of faith. We see the thief stealing, killing, and destroying.
But in Christ, we a power so incomprehensible, so powerful, that as long as we walk in Him and are rooted in Him, we can overcome the world no matter what it throws at us.
We have been given the fullness of God in Christ.
Why would we listen to any other Gospel?!
If Christ is what Christ offers. Why would we want more?!
Who knew that being alive in Christ would be a lot like being a tree?
Just like a tree, we need to be rooted in Christ so that we can grow strong and mature.
Just like a tree, once our roots grow deep, we can know be can be unswayed by outside forces.
Just like a tree that blooms, we are able to have a full and abundant life because of our faith.
What sticks out to you in this passage?
What false gospels do you need the most help from Christ to combat?
If this power is for everyone who accepts it, who are you going to share it with?
Once again - If there is anything during your discussion or journaling as you went through those questions that you found encouraging, .. let me know! I'm no expert, and this blog is definitely not exhaustive. I am learning as much as you and would love to hear how God spoke to you through this passage.
-Pray that we bury our roots deep into Christ and that we walk daily in Him
-Pray we focus on Jesus and His gospel and not be swayed by false gospels, whatever they may be teaching
-Pray that we have an abundance in faith so that we can live life alive in Christ