Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Discovering fullness...through study
"For in Christ all the fullness of God lives in bodily form and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:9-10
This morning I grabbed a book I have been reading and written on the inside cover I saw "Colossians 2:9" written in my own handwriting. I sometimes do this...write down a verse that I want to refer to at a later date. Most of the time, I never go back to that verse. I guess I forget, or don't have time, or like today, forget why I wrote it down in the first place.
But today, I looked up the verse and thought about what it might mean or why it was important. Needing more clarity, I looked up the verse in The Message Translation. Still needing more clarity, I went to the internet and looked up "understanding Colossians 2." In full study mode, I read several different interpretations. Some confused me...some were written using very academic vocabulary that needed a dictionary just to understand the first paragraph. Some interpretations were so closed minded, it angered me. As I have said before, anyone can make the Bible say anything they want. So what is the eager and open-minded searcher to do? How does one find true understanding of what God wants us to learn from his word?
I prayed about it.
Dear Lord, open my mind and my heart to the lesson and the understanding you want me to gain from these verses. Show me the message you want me to take away from these random verses that appeared to me this morning. Allow me to discern what it right from the different interpretations that my study brought to light today.
I know God heard my prayer...
I think I have some clarity...but as usual, when I start thinking about something and think I am moving toward understanding, more questions arise in my head that cause me to go another direction, which leads to more questions....you get the picture. I think too much!
Paul writes at the end of Colossians 1 that he is preaching to them (the Colossians) and teaching them so they will have wisdom and become fully mature in Christ. He wants them (and now us) to believe and understand what the life of Christ really meant for us, and then therefore, we better understand God. Colossians 2:9 opened that door for me. When you are in Christ, that is when you believe and have asked Christ to come into your heart and soul, he willingly comes to you and then you have the fulness of God in you as well...you have fullness.
The rest of Colossians 2 goes on to discuss much about how the old laws and false teachings, and judgement of others clouds the water of that fullness. Before you were full in Christ and full in God, you lived by the law...you tried to follow rules and regulations to find salvation. Paul says in Colossians 2:14 that Jesus canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. We are forgiven and are not tied to the law or written code any more! Does that mean we can now act any way we want? No, it means that when you are full in Christ, you don't WANT to act any way you want! You WANT to live as Christ did, in love.
Wow...this is heavy duty stuff. All this study has given me a headache this morning! It also made me think, does it really take all this study to TRULY understand God's plan through Jesus? No...the real beauty of his plan is...all we have to do is believe and search for him with all our heart. How else would children and the simple-minded have a place in the kingdom of God? I don't have to be a Bible scholar and understand the thousands of interpretations of the Bible...I just have to believe and have faith that God hears and answers my prayers.
Thank God for that!