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Posts Tagged ‘Colossians 2:10’

Cashier totaling grocery purchases

 

As I approached the grocery check-out, I was surprised to see an acquaintance behind the counter.  Another pastor’s wife.

“Hi, Cheryl*,” I said, while loading produce and paper products on the conveyor belt.  “I didn’t know you worked here.”

“I just started,” she explained, swiping my purchases across the UPC reader screen.  What she said next startled me.  “Jim and I are getting a divorce.  I’ve moved out, and needed a job to help support myself.”

“Cheryl, I am so sorry.”

“Oh, no.  Don’t be.  It was my choice.  I couldn’t stand it anymore.”

If the divorce announcement had startled me, her next words were downright shocking.  Especially because they were spoken with such bitterness.

“It just became unbearable not to have an identity of my own.”  Cheryl almost spat out her words.  “I was always ‘Jim’s* wife.’  Well, no more.”

My first thought was, hasn’t she sensed the team effort of a pastorate?  Couldn’t she take joy in how God was using her husband? 

Perhaps Jim was partly to blame.  Maybe he never included her, using the pronoun “I” more frequently than “we,” never affirming how important she was to his work and well-being.

When I told my husband, Steve, about the encounter, he said, “Cheryl doesn’t realize her identity is in Jesus.”  

He was right.  She must have thought that asserting her own personhood would somehow make her more important.

Just what is our identity in Jesus?  Nestle down into the comforting words of these scriptures:

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over…all the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Author and theologian, Melvin Tinker, adds this insight:  “Men and women are the jewels in the crown of God’s creation.  Out of all the beings in the universe only men and women are God-like, bearing His image” (Wisdom to Live By, Christian Focus Publications, 1998, p. 112).

Did you get that?  You are a jewel, created uniquely by God, in his image.

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5).

Each of us is highly valuable to God–crowned with glory and honor.  No position makes a person more important in God’s view; no gift makes someone superior.

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons [and daughters] of God” (Romans 8:14).  

Think of it.  If you know Jesus, you are a child of the almighty King of the universe!  You are royalty in God’s kingdom!

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

And what have we inherited?  Countless blessings here on earth, and eternal bliss in heaven yet to come.  That doesn’t mean faith in Jesus results in a utopian existence.  This world is tainted by sin; we suffer the consequences.  But one day we’ll share in Christ’s glory and the hardships endured here will seem inconsequential.

“You have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:10).

If we’re feeling incomplete or empty, only Jesus can fill that void with peace and contentment. HE is everything we need:  our Savior, Care-Giver, Guide, Source of peace, blessing, and contentment.

So!  At the first symptom of an identity crisis, let’s access that “fullness in Christ” through gratitude and praise.  We can thank God for creating each of us unique and special.  We can praise him for our gifts and talents that bless others and fulfill us.  We can revel in the privilege of living for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)!

And we can embrace this truth:

“Your real, new self…will not come as long as you are looking for it.  It will come when you are looking for Him” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

 

(photo credit:  www.biokineticspt.com.)

 

*Names have been changed.

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Ever attend an elaborate breakfast buffet that was a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite?  Perhaps a kaleidoscope of sparkling fruit grabbed your attention first.  Then you noticed the fresh breads of all shapes and sizes overflowing from broad baskets.  And last, large chafing dishes displayed scrambled eggs, sausage, and French toast.

Just imagining the scene makes me want to be there!  But that’s not enough. Someone who only observes such a display receives no benefit from the bounty.  She has to partake in order to be fully satisfied.

Paul tells us in Colossians 2:10, “You have been given fullness in Christ.”

But there’s no benefit from his bountiful goodness if we don’t partake.

Just how do we do that–partake of the fullness in Christ?   It’s one thing to talk about the concrete experience of participating in a buffet.  You fill up a plate, sit down at a table, and eat.  Simple!

It’s another matter to understand an abstract concept like “partaking of the fullness of Christ.”  Here’s one view:

The fullness of Christ includes the fullness of his character, the fullness of his blessings, and the fullness of his promises.

Are you feeling empty, weak, or deficient?  Come to Christ, to “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 3:23).  Nothing is missing; nothing is left out.  He is everything we need–everything that has to do with value and meaning in life, everything that has to do with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

I’m picturing a buffet, laid out for us by Jesus.  But instead of fruit, bread, and egg dishes, I see attributes, blessings, and promises.  Just as we fill our plates with delectable things at a buffet, we can fill our minds with everything exquisite about our Savior.

Here’s a sampler platter of…

…Christ’s attributes:

  • His constant presence (Matthew 28:20).
  • His tender compassion (Matthew 9:36).
  • His kindness and attentiveness as our Good Shepherd (John 10:14).

…Christ’s blessings:

  • The precious gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23).
  • Provision of everything we need (Matthew 6:31-33).
  • Peaceful rest from fear and worry (Matthew 11:28-30).

…Christ’s promises of:

  • Endless possibilities , because everything is possible with God (Mark 9:23).
  • Wisdom and guidance through the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26).
  • Companionship with the King of the universe (John 14:23).

Chances are these are not astonishing new revelations to you, any more than berries, cinnamon buns, or sausage are never-tried foods.  But if you are enjoying a delicious meal with someone, invariably you will talk about the delectable flavors, even though the dishes are familiar fare.  Sharing augments the pleasure.

So talk about the fullness of Christ–his character, blessings, and promises. Even if you have to talk to yourself!  Revel in his fullness–the bounty he provides.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

What aspect of the fullness of Christ is most precious to you and why?  Join the conversation below!

(Photo credit:  bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com)

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