Half Measures?

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To work with a person who is ‘all in,’ unwilling to settle for half-measures, is a joy. You never have to wonder what is hidden, what they are doing when no one else is around, or if they will actually complete their assigned tasks. It’s been my experience that those who choose to be fully engaged  – be it at home, at work, or in their Christian experience – are those who are most deeply satisfied. They put in the effort and reap the reward.

On this Monday morning, God invites us to know a complete kind of Christian life, deeply satisfying and effective, available only because of His gift to us.  Paul writes that “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.” (Colossians 2:9-10, NIV)  Let’s put that another way –  “God’s completeness is revealed in Jesus and because of Him we can know the richest life possible;  no longer victims; we are victors!”  The realization of that promise eludes those who do not trust Him without reservation, who attempt to hold onto Self while professing faith in Christ Jesus.

The Colossians were settling for half-measures of religiosity, trying to find a relationship with God through their own efforts. Some of their teachers were misrepresenting Jesus as less than God, making Him a spiritual teacher and/or a moral model. Paul warns them (and us!) about this. “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.” (Colossians 2:8, NIV)  If we make our “Christianity” about observing holy days, keeping moral codes, or having the right kind of philosophy of life we miss the complete message that richly resources for to live joyfully, freely, and fully.  “I want to know Christ!” How about you?

How do we ‘know Him?’  Through faith that is expressed in devotion and obedience. Paul warns about substituting rituals and symbols for living faith. He refers to the Jewish “initiation” rite of circumcision and says that Christ went beyond making a mark on our physical body, cutting away the ‘sinful nature’ enabling us to be loving and whole people who please our Father. “When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12, NLT)  Do you believe that? Are you living in full faith? Or are you content with half-measures of external rules that leave your heart unmoved? That kind of Christianity leaves only regret, frustration, and an empty heart.

Paul’s words become strong as he urges us to go ‘all in’ in faith. Trying to keep rules others write for us in an attempt to find peace with God is a fool’s errand. “So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17, The Message) … “So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.” (Colossians 2:20-23, The Message)

Our hope, our peace, our power is found in Christ Jesus. Do you trust Him? Do you love Him? He is the source of ‘fullness!’ Today’s word from the Word points to the true source. My prayer is that the Spirit will make Him known to you, completely.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3, NLT)

____________

The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less\
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

 On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand 

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

 His oath His covenant His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

 When He shall come with trumpet sound
O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne

Edward Mote © Words: Public Domain

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