Colossians is a very interesting book in the Bible. It is written by Paul while in prison for his faith to a church that he had not personally started or visited. What is interesting about this book is that it was written to help guide a church that was in danger of 1) allowing the Greek culture to shape Christian values and beliefs and 2) allowing hyper spiritualism to control the actions of Christ followers.
What stands out in the book of Colossians is the focus on Jesus. A short book made up of four chapters. You will be amazed at how many times Paul mentions Jesus or Christ (40 times by my count).
You know where Christianity gets into trouble? When we put other things above Jesus. What types of things do we put above Jesus? Two things immediately come to mind: 1) What the world thinks. 2) Manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
1) When we filter our Christ centered values and beliefs through culture we put ourselves on a dangerous path of giving authority to this world to tell us who Jesus really is. Stick to Jesus and what He taught and how He lived. You can’t go wrong with Him.
2) When we focus too much on the manifestations of the Holy Spirit (the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit), we can so easily begin putting ourselves above Christ or thinking that our behavior and the behavior of those around us is more important than the love of Jesus. I see a growing pride rising up in people and churches who have a more experiential faith that involve signs and wonders. Again, stick with Jesus. Walk out the miraculous as He did.
The church was always meant to be a force of change in our world and society. That doesn’t come through power or position or political activism. It comes through living like Jesus, being like Jesus, thinking like Jesus. And when we do this, one word should describe his church: LOVE.
EXCERPTS FROM COLOSSIANS:
For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. (Colossians 1:27 NLT)
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, (Colossians 2:8, 17, 20 NLT)
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:2, 5, 7, 14 NLT)
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:5, 6 NLT)