Be careful: Stay in Christ

As we’ve seen over the last few posts being ‘in Christ’ is key to out growing as a believer. Continuing in Christ, being firmly rooted, built up and strengthened in him matters because the world isn’t neutral.  It’s possible for the Colossians and for us to wander away, or to be drawn away, from this amazed, thankful, joy at living in Christ.  That’s why Paul is exhorts them to continue to live in him.

Because there are other ways of thinking in Colossae and in our world today.  They may look and sound good but they’re empty, they’re hollow, they’re deceptive, there is no substance to them.  These different ways of thinking depend on human tradition and thinking, they look good but they are hollow and deceptive, because behind them is opposition to God (v8) not joy in him.  They are based on the elements of the world not on Christ.  They’re opposed to Jesus, they want to draw us away from Jesus, to stop them exploring and growing in Jesus love,

Paul outlines some of them.  (v16)They may be religious actions and practices and festivals, that others look down on you and judge you as being ungodly for not joining in with them.  They may involve claims to power and angelic encounters(v18) and those who practice it will say you’re ruled out if you don’t do them.   They may simply be worldly ways of thinking in line with whatever is currently on trend on in(v20-23) Colossae and in your work place or among your family or friends.  They may look wise, they may look good, people may argue you aren’t loving if you don’t do them.  They may even claim you can’t be a real Christian if you don’t do them.

But Paul says they are only shadows(v17).  None of those things can give us what is ours in Christ.  Paul says they are shadows.  If I asked you to choose; you can have this chocolate bar I currently have in my hands or you can have its shadow.  Which would do you want?  It’s a stupid question isn’t it?  Why would you take the shadow, when you can have the real thing?  That’s what Paul is saying.  Don’t have the shadow which is ultimately nothing when you have the real thing in Jesus!  He also says (v19)those who worship angels have become disconnected from the head of the church, from Christ, and so there will be no growth and eventually they will wither malnourished and die.

Christians grow as we live in Jesus, full of the Spirit, exploring his love and mercy and grace and goodness, and as we help one another and fuel one another’s overflowing gratitude for a love we can never exhaust or break.

How do we grow as believers, as a church? “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith juts as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.”

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