So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Nice verses, yes? Tara Hartley who spoke on Colossians at SNAC Women on Saturday 24 October selected these as theme verses and suggested we memorise them.
You might agree these are nice verses but not unlike other verses we read in Paul’s letters in the New Testament. Why Colossians 2:6-7 in particular? There are plenty of other verses in Colossians rich in meaning, encouragement, exhortation and instruction.
At the outset of the first talk I was already at risk of allowing God’s word to wash over me. Maybe because some of these verses have a familiar ring to them, it’s easy to be dismissive. Perhaps I was looking for specific reason to memorise Colossians 2:6-7 and wondering how these verses might apply to my circumstances.
What do these verses say if I’m despondent or discouraged? Or perhaps we’re overwhelmed by something we’re facing at the moment. Do these verses speak to us? Maybe we’re dealing with a situation and feel that as much as we try, we don’t have any impact, we’re not making a difference. Sometimes we wrestle with temptation, trying to resist and feeling torn. How can these verses help us in our struggle? What about times when things are going well and we feel encouraged – do these verses apply then?
It’s not as though these verses are a “how to” manual which give a sequence of steps to be followed for every situation we find ourselves in. Better than that, Colossians 2:6-7 give an approach we can use in any situation. They may not show me exactly “what to do” but they show me “how to be”.
I wonder if sometimes we can be at risk of being so caught up in our own circumstances that we gauge what we read in the Bible in accordance with our circumstances, trying to fit God’s word into our experience or how we feel at the time. But our experience and feelings are changeable yet God’s word doesn’t change. Rather than trying to match God’s word to my circumstances, I can look to God’s word to make sense of my circumstances.
This is a great reminder to me to never regard God’s word as being a nice platitude with warm and fuzzy sentiments. God’s word is powerful and “... living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) There is no wisdom of the world which comes anywhere near that.
God’s word is in a league of its own - never trite or clichéd. While the Bible may do so, its purpose is not to alleviate our unease or motivate us towards self-improvement. It is God’s great rescue plan for humanity as revealed in Jesus Christ. It would be a mistake to reduce God’s word to a whole lot of nice verses or platitudes rather than allowing it to infiltrate my being. I need to value verses such as Colossians 2:6-7 for what they are, treasured words, a tool on how to “do” life.