In our look at Colossians, we have noted the theme that Christ is in the Center of Everything. The center of our faith and prayers. He is in the center because of who He is. That Christ in us is our only hope of glory. Still, Christians can get discouraged, disenchanted, disappointed.Rick Warren identified four causes of discouragement for Christians:
Fatigue. When you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, you’re a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are lowered and things can seem bleaker than they really are. When we are dealing with something as massive as the pandemic, it’s easy to feel tired – sometimes when we can’t identify a physical reason.
Frustration. When unfinished tasks pile up, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. And when trivial matters or the unexpected interrupt you and prevent you from accomplishing what you really need to do, your frustration can easily produce discouragement. Can anyone identify with the place that frustration has had in our lives?
Failure. Sometimes your best laid plans fall apart, the project collapses, the deal falls through, no one shows up to the event. How do you react? Do you give in to self-pity? Do you blame others? As one man said, “Just when I think I can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends!” That’s discouraging!
Fear. Fear is behind more discouragement than we’d like to admit. The fear of criticism (What will they think?), the fear of responsibility (What if I can’t handle this?), and the fear of failure (What if I blow it?) can cause us to lose our energy for serving in the Kingdom.
How does Christ give us the power to see it through – to continue to live our lives in Him? In our text we will notice FIVE POWER WORDS that remind us that we can find traction in our spiritual lives and never give up!
Colossians 2:6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him
We received Christ as LORD! Not as advisor, counselor, friend, good luck charm, or magic genie in a bottle. He is Lord. Colossians 1:3 Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
AND our commitment to Him is to be continued throughout our lives.
Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
1 John 2:28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
The first power word to give us the power to see it through is CONTINUE – don’t give up!
Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Strength comes from being firmly rooted in the teachings of Christ.
AMP: Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him…
Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Jeremiah 17:8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
How do we strengthen our faith – how do we establish deep roots of faith in our heart?
- Build your life on the truth of Christ and His Word.
- Cultivate Gratitude – As you grow in faith you will Overflow with thankfulness
- Be Patient and Diligent – Know that it doesn’t happen fast. “Nature makes trees put down deep roots before having them bear fruit, and even this is done gradually.” – Vincent de Paul
The stronger our connection with God’s word, the greater our faith and gratitude.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
There are many systems, beliefs, and ways of thinking in our world that are hollow and
deceptive – focused on everything except Christ.
- Finding wisdom within ourselves, our feelings, what we think.
- Finding wisdom in those who do not know the Lord (we encounter in all media)
- Finding wisdom in those who claim to be Chrsitians, but who practice ungodliness.
Don’t be distracted and look away from Christ for your strength and power to make it through.
Hebrews 12:1b-2 …Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We keep our eyes on Christ to learn how to love others, how to have a servant heart, how to pray, how to choose God over everything, how to set aside worry and embrace faith, how to keep on track when it’s hard, and for every issue of life.
There is nothing lacking in Christ.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
When we focus on Christ, it is with the intention of living obediently to him – walking in His footsteps. Submission goes against the grain in our humanity, but when we give our lives to Christ we submit ourselves to Him and find out that in submitting to Him we experience the best life and the life that glorifies God in the greatest way.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Colossians 2:11-12 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
- Referencing the Old Testament practice of circumcision, Paul makes a comparison but concludes that our baptism is a spiritual event – not a physical one like circumcision.
- This happened when we were buried with him and raised with him in baptism.
- The effect was not on our body, but in our soul.
- The moment you were buried in baptism, raised with Christ … you can be sure that God was at work saving you and claiming you as one of His children.
What is our identity in Christ?
ALIVE (13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ….)
FORGIVEN (13b-14 He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us…)
J. B. Phillips’ translation: He has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross.
LOVED (14b …he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.)
TRIUMPHANT (15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.)
What’s been hanging over your head? As long as we live in the shadow of our past failures, it will be hard to see it through each day. Remember that God has been at work in your heart and life – those condemnations against you are removed in Christ.
Conclusion: In verse 6 we read “continue to live your lives in him”.
In the old days before we could binge a series on Netflix, we used to have to wait a week between episodes of our favorite series. Often there was a cliffhanger! When LOST first came on we could watch a season and then had to wait almost a year before the next season came out. Our interest was held because the story was ‘to be continued’.
This whole year seems like a cliffhanger to me … what is next, we do not know. It can be discouraging …. we can suffer from fatigue, frustration, failure, and fear.
Rick Warren: And while God isn’t responsible for the things that cause discouragement, he is the provider of all that cures discouragement. So stay close to him and keep going forward!
But we do know that our story is ‘to be continued’ … Paul says continue to live your lives in him.
Strengthen your faith in the Word
Focus your attention on Christ
Submit to the Lordship of Jesus in obedience
Identify yourself as alive, forgiven, loved, and triumphant!
That’s the power we need to see it through!