This week, I’m exhausted, drained, wrung out. I feel disappointment upon frustration stretching me further and further. I’m so drained and tired. And I keep getting stuck on all the “what if’s”. What if I’m not doing if right? What if I’m making the wrong decisions? What if I just have an appearance of knowledge? How do I know? How can I be sure?I don’t have any more to give and yet people keep on asking. Their hurt and pain and need pour me out on top of my own.
In what does my faith rest? Behind what do I put the full weight of my being? Is my faith in the idea of salvation? Is it in Christianity as a religion? Is it in what I’ve been taught? Is it in my current understanding of the gospel? Or is it in Christ? And Christ alone?
Paul prays the Colossians – rooted with their identity deep in Christ – would grow in spiritual wisdom and knowledge and understanding of God’s will. He doesn’t pray for their circumstances to change and for opposition to cease. The culture around them bombarded them with the ideas that Christianity was a place to start but that they needed a better knowledge and must advance beyond the Gospel into rites and regulations.
Even in his prayer Paul focuses them on the Gospel. Both salvation and justification start at Christ, are in and through Christ, and end with Christ. And what is knowledge without action? What is faith without movement? What is wisdom without doing and understanding without application? What is walking in a manner worthy of the Lord without rearranging priorities and worldviews?
What is bearing fruit without drawing in what’s necessary, without putting to death the past, and stretching forward in uncertainty with surety in the hope of Christ? What is knowledge of God without dismissing, yet expanding my intellect and dispelling my constructions of how I thought it all worked in favor of truth? And what is truth without living, transforming love?
I want God to change my circumstances. I want Him to give me strength to overcome and conquer and do. I want the Holy Spirit to empower me, but not just to endure in patience. I don’t see the joy in eeking by and stretching thin. I don’t like it when it’s not easy.
But these stark moments, these flat, indeterminable deserts strip away my dependence on circumstance and routine. These are the moments for which Paul prays. These are the moments where truth does its carving and knowledge does its etching on the beating walls of my heart and soul propelling me onward.
And so while my heart still drags me places I don’t logically want to go, I fill my mind with the Word. My insecurities try to yank me down into a labyrinth of dark rabbit holes of self and fear. But here is where knowledge and conduct meet. This is where the stuff of faith comes alive, ignited by the Holy Spirit – like a comet slamming into the atmosphere, incinerating and illuminating. When there is nothing left the nothingness reveals the starkness of the gospel, the distinction between the darkness and the Light, self and Salvation.
Paul doesn’t end with asking they “be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…” (Col 1:11) He gives thanks to the Father because God qualifies us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. “[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, In Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins.” (Col 1:13-14 AMP)
God has made us alive in Christ. “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:17) I rest in that good, good news. I rest in that grace. With joy. Giving thanks. Enduring. Waiting. Suffering. Rejoicing. Looking above. The Light has overcome the darkness. He has delivered us. Redemption. Forgiveness of sins. What really matters. The only true end.
Based on Colossians 1:9-14
Check out the Identity Crisis message series at Discover Grace (http://discovergrace.com/messages/)0