Sunday morning we began a series in one of my favorite books of the Bible, Colossians. Those early believers in Colossae were being told that while Jesus was great they needed something more. No doubt the struggles of life were validating this false teaching. They are not alone. Every time we think “IF ONLY I had a better job, he listened to me, I was healed, I found a wife, was accepted by the popular kids, made the team, had a child, etc, etc etc THEN I’d be happy” we fall prey to the same delusion that Jesus is not enough. So Paul writes a letter that basically says Jesus + Nothing = Everything. That the One we need for all our needs is Jesus. [period!]
In the opening section, by sharing how he has been praying for the Colossian believers (& actually breaking into prayer for them), Paul both encourages and exhorts in the gospel. Then out of 1:1-14 this principle emerges – we pursue growth by pursuing Jesus. We pursue growth by pursing Jesus. So how do we pursue Jesus?
1. Immerse yourself in Scripture. Say whatever you want, if you are not getting into the word you are not pursuing Jesus.
2. Commune with God in prayer. Jesus did it. It was the lifeblood of the early church.
While we certainly do both of these personally we must also do both corporately. So…
3. Commit your self to Community. Pursuing Christ is not a solo journey, it is a community adventure. If our view of the Christian life is Jesus is that it’s basically just about me & Him, that church & community are helpful but not indispensable, we are deceived. Check out Hebrews 3:12 & 13. “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.* Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” We help each-other get closer to Christ and thus we help each-other grow. Proud hearts hate this dependence & think, that person can’t help me…they don’t know as much as me, they got real issues. Humble hearts embrace this gift of community—with all of it’s mess & brokenness, because it brings us closer together to the One who is heals/changes/grows us.
4. Get on Mission. The more you seek to show & tell Jesus the more your own idols — which can hide pretty well in the average Christian life — are exposed and the more you see you need Jesus let alone anyone else. The more you seek to proclaim Jesus the more you see need Jesus. So it becomes again & again all about Jesus. And He is the place where growth occurs.
Here’s the sermon if you want to watch.