Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Colossians 3

The Message begins this chapter with a heading: He Is Your Life.

I'm reminded of Jairus, leader of the synagogue, as portrayed in The Miracle Maker. He is shown as wrestling with whether he should ask Jesus, this new, radical rabbi, to pray for his dying daughter, in the face of opposition from the Jewish leaders.

Jairus only desires to serve God and be obedient to him, saying in frustration: "GOD is my life."
Don't you want GOD to BE YOUR life? Nothing else?

Colossians 3 says, in a nutshell (my misshapen paraphrase, more nutty perhaps than is sensible...):

So be serious about living the Christ life, the Christ-ian life. Focus on Jesus, on heaven - not on earth. Because your old life is dead and gone, your NEW life, your REAL life, is with Jesus. Being famous or important isn't what it's all about.

What's important is not to give in to our unpleasant side: the selfishness, loose, self-indulgent living, problems of anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language caused by our tongues. We did that before we knew better: now we do.

Nor should we lie to one another: we've finished with all that. instead, we should imagine that we are dressed in all kinds of good characteristics: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, forgiveness and, best of all, love.

We should focus on the peace which Jesus gives, thankfully, to keep us all together and keep on encouraging one another in the right way to live. Wives should be understanding and supportive of their husbands, who in their turn will be completely loving towards their wives.  Children should respect and obey their parents who will be wise in their dealings with them. And anyone in any kind of inferior position should just do their best: just as if they were working for Jesus.

My summing up sentence: I'm living for God now, not for myself. God IS my life.

Amen to that.

Reflecting on Colossians after our study with Good Morning Girls.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Colossians 2

We've come to an end of the Good Morning Girls study on Colossians, and now it is a week of review, a chapter a day.
So useful to get an overview.
Years ago, I was taught how to summarise at a Bible Study Fellowship seminar. (Aside: how I loved those studies! So deep, so informative, so life-changing - deeply regret leaving my notes, which weighed kilos, in Kenya when we left.) I don't remember exactly now, but I think it was a case of summarising a sentence, then another, then summarising a group of sentences, then summarising a group of a group...until the whole chapter had been squished together into a sentence or even a word.

Thought I might have a try with Colossians 2.

I began with a poem on verses 2 - 5:
your heart be encouraged
knit together in love (with like-minded others)
to reach the richness
of full understanding
and knowledge that you really do 'get' God's secret:
Jesus' gift to us all.
Jesus has all the wisdom and knowledge we could ever want -
the ultimate treasure.
What else would we need?
Don't listen to plausible arguments -
it is JESUS who matters.
Nothing else.

Here goes, a rather loose interpretation for the whole chapter:

Paul says that his aim is to encourage the Colossians so that they may be a united, loving church which understands how to live the Christ life. 
Jesus has everything we need to live, truly live. Yet we have to be careful how we do that, by keeping focused on him, always with hearts full of gratitude for what he has done. We should be on our guard against anything which is not based on him: because he IS God. He has supreme power.

We are new people because we have accepted him: we have new lives now, as if we had been brought back to life from the dead.  We have been forgiven by an amazing God who brought his son back from physical death and, in doing so, defeated everything which works against him.  (We call that evil.)

So we shouldn't let anyone try to put us down because of what we do, trying to make themselves more important by doing so or showing off about their spiritual experiences. We need to recognise that they are no longer grounded with other believers and may themselves have drifted away.

We don't need to restrict ourselves to human 'dos and don'ts'.  They look right, but they just address the externals, things which men and women have put into place.  Restrictions that are put on us by others don't have value in helping us achieve self-discipline in Jesus.


I'm not sure this is all quite accurate - still, it was fun trying!