Colossians: The Supreme Treasure of Christ

Hello!  Today I'm starting a new series of posts to appear in the coming weeks, that draw from my recent study of Colossians.  While I enjoy writing topical articles and personal reflections that are culturally and biblically relevant (especially for wives and moms), my biggest passion is sharing truth directly gleaned from studying the bible.  A large part of becoming a 'biblical woman' is learning sound doctrine, maturing in faith through bible literacy as we enjoy God more.  I'm excited to dive into this with you, and hope this deviation from my typical writing style isn't too hard of an adjustment!  Also, I hope that as you read this, you will be encouraged to study the bible more intently, seeing that normal people (like me) are able to uncover important truth without a seminary degree!  For information on the method of study I used, pick up a copy of "Women of the Word" by Jen Wilkin.  She makes bible study so accessible for every woman! 
  

“Make a trade” is a common phrase used in our home to help our oldest child play more peacefully with his younger siblings.  With many little boys running around, it’s typical for everyone to want the same ball, train or dump truck at exactly the same time.  We've tried to encourage our oldest son to find another toy that his younger brothers will like even more, so they'll grab onto that instead.  It’s amazing how fast the younger children will give up the toy they were clinging to, in exchange for something they consider to be better.  “Making a trade” works almost every time.


This is a relatively simple concept, one that a child under the age of two is able to grasp.  
“If I’m holding onto something I want, but something better comes along, I’m going to drop what I have and get that instead.”  But as adults, we don’t always live this way.  Instead, we often hold onto the lesser thing and ignore the long-term joys of the better thing.


So who and what is the better thing?  Paul uses his letter to the church in Colossae to exalt the supremacy of Christ, who is the person they must cling to in exchange for everything else.  Paul knows that the Colossians must be in love with Christ and have a right view of Him in order to grow in maturity, bear fruit, and resist the dangerous false teaching threatening the church.


According to the ESV Study Bible, Colossians is “one of the most thoroughly Christ-centered books of the bible”.  You can hardly go a few verses before you run into an attribute about Christ himself, or truth about the work He did on our behalf.  Just as Romans does a very thorough job of explaining the gospel message, Colossians seems to paint one of the clearest pictures of the person and work of Christ found in scripture. In order for us to leave behind our lesser things and cling to Christ, the first thing we need to do is KNOW Christ.  Who is He?  What has He done?  Why is He worth it?  My objective is to concisely communicate the answers to these three questions.


The Person of Christ
So who is Christ?
  • He is the image of the invisible God. (Col 1:15) He is the literal, physical embodiment of God.  A person that other people could touch and see during His time on Earth, that we will be able to touch and see when He returns.
  • He is the firstborn of creation.  (Col 1:15) He existed eternally, and has rights over all creation as the firstborn son has rights over inheritance.  Everything belongs to Him.
  • He is the reason for all created things. (Col 1:16) All creation exists to magnify His great name.
  • He is before all things. (Col 1:17) He is superior, and has authority over all.
  • He is the head of the church (Col 1:18) He is the supreme authority over the church as a body, giving it instruction, direction, and causing all other parts to work together.
  • He is the firstborn from the dead (Col 1:18) He lives and sits at the right hand of the father in a resurrected glorified body, giving us assurance of our own resurrection.
  • In Him, the fullness of God is pleased to dwell. (Col 1:19, 2:9) He is fully part of the triune God, and this pleases the Father.
Although not extensive, this is a fairly clear revelation of his authority and supreme reign and control over all things by nature of who He is.


The Work of Christ
So what did Christ do?
  • He is our hope, laid up in heaven. (Col 1:5) We can look forward to being with Him in the flesh someday, and look forward to an eternal life of joy.
  • He has qualified us to share in His inheritance. (Col 1:12) He completed all the requirements we had to meet in order to be adopted as children of God.
  • He has delivered us from being ruled by sin and darkness, and instead gained us entry into the Kingdom. (Col 1:13) He literally transferred us from the authority of one kingdom’s reign into another.
  • He gave us redemption and forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:14) We are bought with a price and freed from the penalty of our transgressions.
  • He created all things, in heaven and on earth. (Col 1:16) We owe all of creation to His mighty power, which is able to make the expanse of the universe.
  • He provides us reconciliation with God, making peace by the blood of the cross. (Col 1:20-22) We are no longer under the wrath of God, because He took it on our behalf.
  • He presents us holy and blameless and above reproach. (Col 1:22) We can now be in right relationship with God, because we are seen in the garment of Christ’s righteousness.

Our View of Christ
All of these things about Christ are made evident in scripture.  God willingly chose to reveal these mysteries, so we could have saving faith.  So why do we sometimes find this truth so boring?  Why do we read through passages of scripture, completely missing the beauty of God’s son and even brushing it off as old news?

There is one instance where “making a trade” doesn’t work for our oldest son, and it’s when his younger brothers aren’t paying attention to what he’s offering them.  If they won’t look up from their toy, they can’t even assess the opportunity to have something better, let alone grab hold of it for themselves.  We do this too.  We go about our lives, looking at created and earthly things, rarely stopping to gaze long and hard at Christ himself.  

In Luke 14:26, Jesus says something striking that should jar our attention,
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

Jesus knows that our tendency is to put other people and things before Him, worshiping false idols. He isn't literally saying we should hate those closest to us, but that in comparison to our great love for Him, our love and devotion to others should run a far second place. How does this most often play out in our lives as women? Here are a few things that I've grappled with - maybe you can relate!
  • We make ourselves supreme. We place our hope for joy and rest in having more time to ourselves and controlling our own agenda. We think that if we just get really healthy and workout enough, making our body perfect - or if we just get some time to pursue a ministry or hobby we really like, then we'll be less stressed - or if everyone in our own little world would start recognizing us more and stop making things so hard, then our kingdoms would run more smoothly. Life can subtly start to become a big drama where we are the main character and everyone else needs to do our bidding or we become bitter and full of self-pity.
  • We make our husbands and children supreme. Our hopes and expectations for our family are so high, that we find ourselves regularly despairing over the way they fail us. Everything we do is an effort to have our version of a perfect home; eating the right foods, doing the right behaviors, keeping the right level of clean, having the right type of communication, and doing the right types of activities. Obtaining our perfect idea of ourselves as a mom, or our perfect idea of a family can become our primary objective in life.
  • We make our work supreme. Whether primarily inside or outside of the home, we refuse to submit our work to the Lord and instead, we create our own agenda. If it's a career, it might be the thing we sacrifice too much for, or can't give up because it's become so ingrained in our identity. If it's life as a stay-at-home-mom, we might become queens of our own domestic kingdom, frustrated when things don't reflect our decrees on a daily basis. Working hard, even in an effort to become more 'righteous' can be elevated above our primary treasure - Christ himself.
Because our hearts are idol factories, we can pretty much find anything to love and put our hope in instead of Christ himself. But how do we change? What if we want to put our hope in Christ, but we don't know how?

1. We repent of our idols and our refusal to treasure Christ as supreme. Specifically laying those adulterous loves at the cross and turning back to Christ himself. Is it family? Is it your body image? Is it your career or your friends? Whatever it is, God already knows and sees that it's too important. We need to confess these things to Him, acknowledging that we have sought joy apart from Him.
2. We make time to abide in Christ, investing in our relationship and learning about Him. Of course, this means sacrifice - something that many of us feel we just can't do because we're too busy. But if a relationship or a thing is important to us, and its' something we love / treasure - it's not a burden to give time to it. Making space in our lives to enjoy and get to know Christ is a wise eternal investment, AND it will bring us great joy.
3. We rely on Christ and run to Him first in every situation. Instead of going to our husbands, friends, and our trusty Google bar first. When we are distressed - we pray. We seek Jesus. We know that we can gain His wisdom and help in any situation. We go to Him automatically, as our biggest treasure and source of hope. After all, he is the supreme ruler and upholder of the universe. Don't we think He is able to help us and meet our needs?

As we fill our minds and hearts with truth, meditate on Christ, and spend time in relationship with Him, He will become the supreme treasure in our lives.

Looking further into the book of Colossians, one thing becomes evident:  Paul is imploring the believers to behold and love Jesus Christ.  He feels this is the trade they need to make, and the primary argument needed against the harmful forms of temptation and false teaching they were facing.  And the same thing is true for us.  Fixing our eyes upon Christ, learning about who He is and what He has done, and then replaying that over and over is the ONLY hope we have.

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