Have you ever put a puzzle together, and it was missing a few pieces? How about ordering something at the drive-thru, and then you got home, and some of the food was missing? Something is unsettling when things aren’t complete. The same can be said for Christians who are lacking in their faith. They aren’t complete. The Apostle Paul wants you to be complete in Christ.
“We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
Less of Ourselves
Paul lays out his method for discipleship. He tells the Colossians that he proclaims Jesus while admonishing and teaching every man. It reminds me of what John the Baptist said, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” We have to make more of Jesus in our lives and less of ourselves. The more Jesus becomes prevalent in our hearts, the less we worry about ourselves.
No one wants to be admonished nowadays. People get offended if you tell them they are doing something wrong, but for real discipleship to happen in our hearts, we have to be willing to listen to those more mature in the faith tell us what we are doing wrong. When Paul preached, he called out the sin of the people. He didn’t water it down, but at the same time, he did it with an attitude of love. Don’t be quick to take someone’s critique as an attack.
Complete in Christ
To be complete in Christ, you need to be teachable. That means sitting under a pastor who proclaims Jesus and teaches you the wisdom of God’s Word. When that happens, the Holy Spirit can convict you of the areas God wants to work on. As you respond to those, you will begin to see new growth in your walk with Jesus. Allow the process to happen. You won’t regret it.
The other day my niece drew a picture of me preaching. It is the best portrait of me ever done because its the only one. In an age where people endlessly take selfies, it is nice to see something different. Our verse today gives us a beautiful portrait of who Jesus is. Take some time to gaze upon it and let it move you.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
God was fully revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus was the manifestation of God on earth. He was both fully God and fully man at the same time. God literally walked the earth in the person of Jesus. The person who created the heavens and the earth came down in human form and lived amongst us. Ponder that for just a second. That is the savior we have given our lives too.
So many times, we focus what Jesus has done for us or what we need to do for Him, and we forget to gaze on the person He is. He wasn’t some guy in a tunic strumming a harp on top of a cloud. Philippians tells us that He came as a lowly servant so that he could relate to everyone on earth. He was poor yet had all the riches of heaven at his disposal. He was humble even though the Angels sang of his glory at His birth.
A Beautiful Portrait
This section of scripture is essential to us because it reminds us of who Jesus is. He created the earth and rules everything while He sits at the right hand of His Father. He is waiting for the word for when He can come and rapture His Bride and prepare to rule from Jerusalem. That is your Jesus, and He loves you more than anything else.
I don’t know where you live, but it is the summer fruit season in my area. That means watermelons, cherries, and blueberries are in abundance. I always look forward to this time of year. Did you know that there are seasons of fruitfulness for the Christian as well? That happens when a believer has been faithful in growing in the knowledge of the Word of God and endeavored through good works to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
Walk in a Manner Worthy
Paul uses the phrase “walk in a manner worthy” several times in his writings. Our relationship with Jesus is like a journey we are traveling on to heaven. Paul wants us to travel that journey to glorify Jesus, so he tells us to walk worthy. We do that by bearing fruit and increasing in our knowledge of God. By doing so, it will increase the witness of the believer.
How do you bear fruit as a believer? It is very similar to the way a tree grows. First, you plant the seed. Jesus tells us that when the seed, which is the Word of God, is put in the fertile ground, it produces fruit 30, 60, 100 times the seed. Once the seed grows, it needs to be watered, and the land around it weeded. Finally, for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, it needs to be pruned. A believer produces fruit when they get the Word of God inside of them, are watered by the Holy Spirit and are pruned by the challenges of life.
Seasons of Fruitfulness
Are you challenging yourself to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? This happens by your daily Bible reading time, and by sitting under teaching that is Biblically based. Think of it as growing deep roots. A tree is stable because its root system has gone deep enough to brace itself against the wind. That same is true of a Christian. Our root system in our knowledge of God’s word. It helps us when the storms blow through.
There are a lot of people hurting right now. I get requests all the time to help out with people struggling. I wish I could help all of them, but I can’t. Maybe you are in that boat too? You have been laid off of your job, or COVID has wiped out the economy. In times like these, you have to trust that God will supply all of your needs. Trust in His Word and watch as He provides for you.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Don’t Be Consumed with Worry
Many in the early church were consumed with worry. The Roman Emperors had it our for Christians, some lost their jobs because of their faith, and others were disowned by their families when they converted from Judaism to Christianity. Many had nowhere to turn, and they had to trust in the Lord and lean upon the church. When the early church was formed, no one had any need because they had all things in common. If there was a shortfall, God put it upon someone’s heart to see something to meet the needs.
The church should be the same way today. Everyone should be expected to work and contribute to the needs of the congregation, but if someone lacks those in the church should step up and care for them. Yes, I know that there are those who take advantage of others, but we give unto the Lord, not to the individual. Let God deal with them.
God Will Supply All of Your Needs
If you are struggling today, don’t be consumed with worry. I know that it is easy to say when you have a hungry family and bills to pay, but we can take God at His Word. He knows your needs. Go to Him in prayer and let your requests be known. Watch as He provides in ways that you didn’t even think of. Give Him praise when your needs are met. God will supply all of your needs.
If you have more than one child, then you know that they are always competing to be first. Whether it be in the front seat of the car or the first one to get candy, sometimes it gets downright brutal. One area that they never compete to be first is doing their chores. It takes us as parents to train them on how to serve. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.
Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Check Your Motivation
There was some competition between the disciples. John and James’ mother asked if they could sit at his right and left hand. She was thinking that Jesus was going to defeat the Romans and set up the throne in Jerusalem, as David did. This caused some angst among the other disciples. Jesus took the opportunity to tell them that those who desire to be first will end up being last, and a servant to others.
We live in a world today that celebrates those who finish first and forgets those who finish second. The desire to be first has consumed athletes, politicians, and business leaders. Many would sell their souls to achieve their goal and would trample on their own grandmother to get there. Jesus contradicts that by telling us to be willing to give our lives to serve others. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give His life up for all of us.
Train Them to Serve
There rarely goes a week where some actor, athlete, or politician doesn’t crash and burn for the choices they made. They have sacrificed their character, and it has caught up with them. You have an opportunity to go in a different direction. You can value others more than your own personal gain and choose to lift them up by serving them. What you will find when you do is that you will have more joy and be more content.
I’m sorry I haven’t written a devotional in several days and that my posting has been erratic. I don’t have to explain to you that what has happened in the world in the last three months has changed how we live and do things. Fortunately for those of us who call Jesus our Lord, we are just passing thru. We are not citizens of this world but sojourners on our way to heaven.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
On a Journey
When we receive Christ as our savior, we become other-worldly. Our citizen changes from being a slave to this world to a son or daughter of the Almighty God with full inheritance. We are on a journey to our homeland and look forward to the transformation that will happen with this frail body into a new glorious one that experiences no pain. Until that happens, we are playing the waiting game occupying our time with the tasks set before us.
What are those tasks? Acts 2:42-47 gives us a glimpse. We are to be devoted to the teaching of God’s Word, Communion, the fellowship of the Saints, and prayer. When a church, full of the Holy Spirit, sets its mind to these, whole communities are transformed. Don’t be a passenger in life where you wait out your time in boredom for Jesus to come back. Get involved in the game, and let God use you.
Just Passing Thru
Next time you get dismayed about what is happening, just remember that you are just passing thru. This is not your final destination, and God has more for you than what you are doing right now. Set your sights on Him and point your face towards the Son. When you do this, you won’t get off track. Keep on going.