So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having 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 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. –Colossians 2:6-15
There’s a lot packed into these 10 verses, so I will do my best to stay succinct. Here we go!
You have probably already heard that Christ offers more benefits than sinful behavior. If you’ve ever attended a church service–or been screamed at by a maniac on a street corner–you’ve heard about how Jesus has more to offer than drugs and pornography and drinking and so on. This is true.
Jesus IS more fulfilling than illegitimate things; He’s ALSO more fulfilling than legitimate things. This is the message we don’t hear as often.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines complete as:
having all necessary parts; not lacking anything; not limited in any way; not requiring more work; entirely done or completed
A couple of years ago I read a book titled “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee focusing on the book of Ephesians and the steps we must take to understand our position and abilities in Christ. It was the first time I really understood that Christ’s death on the cross actually completed the work that was necessary for my acceptance and fullness in Christ. It’s not about anything I do or did, but all about what HE did. It’s finished.
In finishing off the power of sin in our lives, He also finished off the power of the allure of the legitimate. We can get so lost in doing God’s work or socializing with God’s people or seeking God’s will or benefits for our lives that we forget to seek God Himself and find our fulfillment and completion in Him.
My recent downfalls have come from seeking legitimate things in an illegitimate way: in my own strength, by my own design, for my own reasons. I wasn’t seeking out inherently sinful things, but neither was I seeking out God’s specific, perfect will for my life. I was trying to add God’s blessing to my own choices simply because they were “good”.
Go up and reread the bold verse. Notice the past tense? You have been given. You are already full. If you are in Christ, you are full with His fullness, which is the fullness of the Almighty God of the universe. Shouldn’t that be enough for you? Shouldn’t that be enough for me?
You don’t have to follow “the rules” to be made whole. You ARE whole. You ARE complete in Him. You aren’t perfected, but you’re not lacking. It’s all there inside of you, waiting to be discovered and used, because it’s all already in Him and He is already in you. So continue to live in Him, deepening your roots, building up your frame, strengthening your faith, pouring out your thanks for the work He has completed in you.
I can’t say I’ve totally wrapped my head and heart around this theological principle. I haven’t gotten it all figured out. But I’m confident that with time, patience, and faith, the things that I can’t see or understand will be made plain and real to me in His timing, ie: right when I truly need it.