I (Paul) am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Colossians 2: 5

We have participated in a neighborhood wide garage sale in the past, and there is almost nothing else that you can do that reinforces just how unstable the value of most of our possessions is that putting them on sale in this manner. We put out for sale a few pieces of furniture that we paid some very serious prices for quite a number of years ago; yet, the concept of deflation of value was clearly driven home when no one was willing to pay even our meager ten dollar asking price for any of them. Actually, if someone had shown any interest, I would have been willing to offer them a three for ten deal, but, alas, there were no takers.

Paul is pointing toward something that made his heart glad, for he could see that the people in Colossae had grasped the idea that there were some things in this life that did hold value. They were showing the sort of discipline that it takes to invest in permanence and in eternity. They were putting their time and their energy into getting to know the Lord more deeply, and they were taking this knowledge and understanding and applying it to the way that they conducted their daily lives. The things that they were buying with their capital were the spiritual treasures that come from a relationship with Christ, and they were growing their investment by putting it to work in their community.

Christ looks at each of us with the same sort of loving pride that Paul expressed when we seek to own the only things that will never be devalued by time, become obsolete or out of style, and that are guaranteed by the highest authority possible to do nothing but appreciate in value. When we seek to know God well and to follow His will fully, we bring the sort of stability into our lives that we will never find anywhere else, and we also touch the world around us with Christ’s promise of redemption. The process of growth in this area does bring to mind one aspect that is similar to that of the garage sale, that is, it is good and worthwhile to get rid of those old aspects of life that no longer are useful or valuable so that the priceless treasures of Christ can replace them and furnish our spiritual homes for the days to come.

For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and firmness of your faith in Christ.

Colossians 2: 5

 

A crisp, tightly organized marching band is something that I enjoy watching and hearing. There is a quality of unity and singlemindedness that is impressive in them. This particular interest is directly related to my own experience of marching and playing in bands for many years during my school years, I am certain. I know that the end product that we see on the street in a parade is the result of hours of practice, commitment, discipline, and design. The well-oiled machine that is a polished and skillful band doesn’t just happen, and this is also true when it comes to living as a community of followers of Christ, too. Paul has chosen his words with some real care here. He uses the terms “good order” and “firmness” that come from the world of military science and practice, and the marching bands that I envision are designed to be examples of this same military order and organized strength or firmness.

 

Like the military unit or the band, there is strength to be found in numbers of people who are headed in the same direction with like-minded purpose. This is one of the reasons that God leads His people into gathering together in communities of faith. We gain support and we also benefit from the collected wisdom and understanding that several Christ -filled hearts and minds bring to bear on all of the issues of life. People were not meant to live on our own, and this is even more true when it comes to navigating a course through the perilous waters of our world with doing Christ’s will as our desire and with righteousness as our set of guideposts. There is no place other than the body of Christ where we can go to engage in this daily journey with arm-in-arm support. Marching through the often hostile territory of our world is made both safer and more effective when it is done with spiritually connected companions.

 

So, where does this order and this ability to venture out into the world with firmness of purpose and resolve of heart come from? All strength comes from Christ and is founded on God’s Word. This is true for each of us individually just as it is so for His body gathered together in various forms and structures. We enter into this unified strength by praying together regularly and through the deep study of the Word with each other. These are things that are to be done in large gatherings and in small ones. God also intends for us to take time to meditate on Him and on His Word and to listen for the utterances of truth and direction that He does speak to us. These practices are the foundation for living in that well-ordered manner that Paul is describing, but the true life of a body of Christ followers is gained and is made tangible by the way that we go into our world to proclaim the truth of Christ’s Gospel by the words that we say and more so by the way that we love and care for the people of who dwell outside of our fellowships. Christ deepens our faith and grows our character as we trust Him to take us into the world for the sake of the glory of His name.

I (Paul) am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

Colossians 2: 5

 

We participated in a neighborhood wide garage sale this past weekend; there is almost nothing else that you can do that reinforces just how unstable the value of most of our possessions is that putting them on sale in this manner. We have a few pieces of furniture that we paid some very serious prices for a number of years ago; yet, the concept of deflation of value was clearly driven home when no one was willing to pay even our meager ten dollar asking price for any of them. Actually, if someone had shown any interest, I would have been willing to offer them a three for ten deal, but, alas, there were no takers.

 

Paul is pointing toward something that made his heart glad, for he could see that the people in Colossae had grasped the idea that there were some things in this life that did hold value. They were showing the sort of discipline that it takes to invest in permanence and in eternity. They were putting their time and their energy into getting to know the Lord more deeply, and they were taking this knowledge and understanding and applying it to the way that they conducted their daily lives. The things that they were buying with their capital were the spiritual treasures that come from a relationship with Christ, and they were growing their investment by putting it to work in their community.

 

Christ looks at each of us with the same sort of loving pride that Paul expressed when we seek to own the only things that will never be devalued by time, become obsolete or out of style, and that are guaranteed by the highest authority possible to do nothing but appreciate in value. When we seek to know God well and to follow His will fully, we bring the sort of stability into our lives that we will never find anywhere else, and we also touch the world around us with the promise of redemption.