Are you growing in your relationship with Jesus?
Do you remember when you were a teenager and you always wanted to be a year older? You were in a hurry to grow up! You wanted to get to the next grade, get to high school, get your driver’s license, graduate! We were always in a hurry to “grow up” when we were young. Of course, that changes dramatically as we get older.
As the Apostle Paul finishes up the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians, he tells us how important it is to “grow up” in Christ; that is, to mature as Believers. 28 He (Jesus) is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. Colossians 1:28.
Have you given much thought to what it looks like to be fully mature in your relationship with Christ? Have you considered what it looks like to help others close to you mature as Believers? God wants us to grow up in Christ… He wants us to move from infancy to maturity as Believers. In Colossians 1:24-29, Paul offers insight about how we can grow up in Christ and help others grow up in Christ too!
1) Serve Christ joyfully, even when it’s difficult. (Colossians 1:24) When Paul pens this letter, he is imprisoned, under house arrest, unable to go anywhere simply because he had been proclaiming the gospel. We know a little about what it is like to be sequestered in our houses, unable to go out… remember the Spring of 2020? It was sort of miserable in a lot of ways. Paul was in prison, not for two weeks or two months, but for two years! Yet he rejoiced in it. Why? Because he knew he was still being used by God to build up the church, the body of Christ!
God used Paul in a big way during this time in his life. It was during his house arrest that Paul wrote the books of Ephesians, Philemon, Colossians, and Philippians. God did not waste his suffering; and he would never waste yours either! Paul counted it joy to suffer for Christ’s sake. How is your attitude when it comes to serving Christ? To serving His church? To discipling others? Are you willing to sacrifice your time, your talents, your treasures for Christ’s sake… and to do it happily, joyfully, with a smile on your face?
2) Share the Good News so lives can be changed! (Colossians 1:25-26). Can you imagine having good, life-changing news, but keeping it to yourself? What if you discovered a way to fuel cars with garbage, or to grow crops in the desert, or a way to cure cancer? Do you think that is news people could use? Of course it is! You would have to share that!
This is the point that Paul is making…. He has been commissioned by God to share the Good News in its fullness - that is, to see lives changed! What about you? If you are a Believer, you too are called by God to share this Good News so that lives can be changed. We are in the life-change business. How can we do that? Build relationships with the people God puts in your life… listen to their struggles, hurts, needs and share the difference Christ can make in their lives. You can be a powerful witness for Christ’s sake.
3) Make known to others the glorious treasure you have found in Christ! (Colossians 1:27). I love to watch the Indiana Jones movies… the adventure, excitement, the mystery all make them a fun watch. Indiana is always pursuing an elusive, priceless treasure. The truth is that God has given us glorious riches in Jesus Christ… the assurance of salvation to all who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. This is the “mystery” that has been solved. It is the treasure, the “hope of glory” that we have in Christ. It is a treasure that we can share with everyone who is still yet far from God! (Eph. 3:4-6). Will you make Him known?
4) Become more like Christ every day! (Colossians 1:28). When my kids were growing up, it was important that Lori and I offered them the guidance and direction they needed to help them succeed in life. Once we surrender our lives to Christ, it is important to our Heavenly Father that we receive guidance and direction too, so that we can be more like Christ every day. Paul calls it teaching and admonishing with all wisdom. Are you committed to becoming more like Christ every day?
5) Lean on Christ’s power to energize you when you want to give up! 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29. There are lots of things in life that we would rather not do and almost all of them are really difficult or hard; weed eating my yard, edging the curbs and trimming my shrubs comes to mind for me! I can come up with plenty of excuses for not doing those things.
Paul is not a procrastinator or an excuse maker when it comes to doing what God has called him to do! He is all in, laboring intensely and strenuously to complete the work Christ has called Him to. Paul knew the work he was doing was not easy, but he also knew that Christ was going to empower him to accomplish what He had called Him to. And Christ will do that same for you no matter how worn out, ill-equipped, or unprepared you may think you are. In those moments, lean not on your energy, but with all the energy Christ so powerful works in you!