Living for Jesus in Your Everyday World
What have you received that is of value? Your answer will probably depend on how the word "value" is defined. I have received a few things of value. I have a couple of quilts from grandmothers, the flag that was on my dad's casket and a mantel clock that my grandmother says was exactly like her daddy's. You probably have your own treasures and some of the greatest things you've received aren't things at all. They can be a loving home, a great memory, or an experience that marked a place of transformation in your life.
Followers of Jesus in Colossae had received Jesus and Paul reminds them and us that flowing from a life-changing encounter with Jesus is the command to "continue to live in Him", the word literally means to "walk about" or to "conduct one's life". There is NO theology that does not have a practical outcome in our day-to-day life. For a person who stakes a claim to a life with God through Jesus, there must be a change in the way one lives their life.
On a positive note it is a life moving toward bearing fruit. We are told to be "rooted"; "established or built up", "becoming stronger" and all leading toward an overflowing "thankfulness" for God's mercy and live in Jesus. The last part is the only part that comes from us. The rest are gifts of God, things God brings about with us and through us as we follow Jesus.
And so we come to the problem of determining just how we know when this process is moving forward? Part of it comes with the maturity not to get sucked into the games the world plays. We are to make sure we don't get captured by human philosophy. Specifically Paul is thinking about those who claimed that REAL followers of Jesus were circumcised or Jewish in the way they lived. And more importantly for us, those who claimed that Jesus was something much less than he claimed to be.
If you get a chance to check out my blog you'll see a video from YouTube in which a pastor asked people on the street, "Who is Jesus to you?" The answers he got weren't a real surprise to me but let me share a few of them. One girl says, "He lives upstairs."
When asked, "What is he doing?"
She continues, "looking down on us."
Why? The interviewer asks.
"He's bored," the girl says.
Another person is asked, Is he a god to you? The answer is "No he's not!" Other comments included, "probably a pretty nice guy", "a figure people can look up too" and perhaps the most telling is a guy who answered, "Don't know how to answer".
The interviewer asked him, "Do you care?"
And this man's response was "Not really."
For some they've never heard the story of Christ. That's our fault. Others have heard it and just don't believe it. It's not that bad living in their hell. One Katrina rescuer tells of going out on their helicopter to pick up survivors. Lieutenant Iain McConnell said, "On their first three missions, we saved the lives of 89 people, three dogs, and a cat." They saved no one the fourth time out because the people simply refused to be picked up. They wanted the crew to bring them water and food but they didn't care that they were living in horrible, dangerous and unhealthy conditions.
When you're tempted to fall into those dangerous waters, go look at the verses 9, 10 and 13 for it is a truth that can help us remain true to Jesus. The very fullness of God that dwells in Jesus is the fullness with which we've been filled. Jesus, who is over every power and authority, is the one who gives hope to lives caught up in horror and sin.
Verse 13 draws the reality of our ongoing situation with the gift of Jesus. Once we were dead. We were destined to hell. We were without a future. Why, because we were captive to a nature bent on messing things up. "But now", God has made us alive by Jesus' death.
Currently, people end up in either one of two camps. Either they are living lives of freedom from slavery to the world's explanation of reality or they are stuck in the matrix of the world's beliefs. The next section of Paul's letter is directed to those who are busy making sense of their freedom.
We aren't to be submit to judgment based on non-issues. In Paul's day this included questions and expectations from Jewish followers of Jesus about eating clean and unclean food; and keeping the Sabbath. Angel worship; stupid prideful actions and visions and the rest. These aren't signs of spiritual greatness but signs that such people have "lost connection with the Head." (v.19). Human rules and instructions may sound good but the fact is that they have very little power to really make a difference.
It doesn't matter if we're talking about wearing baseball hats in church or not seeing 'R' rated movies. Those are human rules and we may have reasons to obey or not obey. The fact is, they don't really do much to either build up or tear down the fabric of what is really key to God.
We're coming to a place of extreme importance to the life of the whole Body of Christ.
 Lieutenant Iain McConnell, as told to Jocelyn C. Green, "A Rescuer's Journal" Today's Christian (January/February 2006)