If the world came crashing down, and in the midst of the chaos I could grasp just one page of my Bible as it was torn from my hands, it would be good to have page 1037.
In my Bible, the front and back of this page contain most of Paulís epistle to the Colossians. There are enough riches in these 1068 words to keep me reading them for a lifetime. The first sentence on the page is Colossians 2:15ÖHaving disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Just that can make you grin, canít it? Itís the end of a passage about how Jesus wiped out our debt on the cross. He triumphed by choosing to die a wretched death for us, and then taking up His life again. So there, all you principalities and powers.
The rest of chapter two details beliefs and practices that believers might easily get caught up in, but that will only distract us from Christ. For instance: rules about eating and drinking, what days are holy, and worshiping angels. The key is not to get tangled up in "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," but to hold fast to Christ. Manmade rules and practices have an appearance of wisdom, Paul says, but donít help us become like Christ.
Hereís the beginning of chapter three, upon which you could meditate forever and not exhaust its truths: ď If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.Ē
My life is hidden with Christ in God. I donít know about you, but sometimes I make such a mess of my life (even while trying to serve God and take care of my family), that the thought of that muddle being hidden with Christ in God is a great comfort. Oh, and anything to do with ďin glory,Ē Iím ready for that right now, letís go.
That just gets chapter three started. Do I need a reminder of what sins lie waiting to snare me? I can check verses five through eleven. What should I be like when I ďput on the newĒ? See verses twelve through seventeen. And how will this look when extrapolated out into my relationships with family and colleagues? Verses eighteen through 4:1 line it out for me.
Iím a lover of lists. Chapter four, verses two through six are bullet points. Theyíll fit on a 3X5 card labeled ďTo Do TodayĒ.
- Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
- Pray the 3 Open prayer (Open a door, Open their hearts, Open my mouth) for those working to share Christís love with the world.
- Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.
- Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
I even love the closing verses of the epistle, wherein Paul sends greetings to and from specific people, reminds the church at Colosse to swap letters with the church at Laodicea, tells Archippus specifically to mind what heís about, and signs off with his own chain-bound signature. Life was messy, even for Paul.
I hope I never am reduced to just page 1037. But many groups of believers around the world are forced to share scarce copies of Scripture, and carefully separate the pages to pass from person to person. Itís a supernatural thing that Godís love and truth blaze brilliantly out of each and every page with the life-giving light we need.