Colossians and Me….Part 1
Being a Bible study girl, I get as inspired by the newest Bible study releases from Lifeway as the latest Pottery Barn catalog. Priscilla Shirer, Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, Kelly Minter, Matt Chandler-I like them all and have learned a lot from each of them.
Give me the teacher’s kit, complete with video sermons, a new journal, my Bible and a group of friends and I’m an excited girl.
That all sounds good, but I have learned that a person (me) can study the Bible, lead Bible studies, and talk a good talk. However, if all that study doesn’t lead to letting God convict me, forgive me, and transform me, I might as well be studying Mandarin.
In late spring, as our Friday morning Bible study group finished up Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer (run out and buy this study or ask to borrow our copy-sooooo good!) God began putting on my heart the idea that this was going to be the summer I did an in-depth study of a single book of the Bible.
Not a video study where someone else explained what the scriptures were saying, and then directed my thinking in daily homework, but one where I let the Holy Spirit alone enlighten me.
I thought, “Oh, this will be interesting and fun. God wants me to write a Bible study!” I always enjoyed making lesson plans, coming up with creative activities to help my students learn the material being presented. This assignment would be just up my alley. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
When I set down with my Bible, laptop and journals, thinking about learning the material to teach the material, I sensed Holy Spirit telling me, “Slow down, missy. This isn’t about you teaching others. This is about ME teaching YOU.”
So, I’ve spent June and July studying the book of Colossians, only 4 chapters, over and over and over. The verses that appealed so much to me and led me to choose this letter to study were these…
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-14
Loving a cute outfit, I was drawn to the idea that God wants us dressed in designer clothes of the most beautiful kind. No rags for his kids!
( Sidebar: This is my mom in her wedding dress. She and my dad will soon celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary. Isn’t she beautiful?)
So I haven’t written a Bible study, but I have learned a bunch and just have to share some of it. Writing things down helps me process what God is doing in my heart. You should try it. And then start a blog and share it with us. I really want to know what God is doing in your life.
My Lessons from Colossians:
Background-This letter was written to the Christians in Colossae, which was an ancient city in Asia Minor. Colossae was close to two other cities, Laodicea (spoken of in Revelation) and Hierapolis. And about 120 miles from Ephasus (bells ringing-Ephesians) The city was located near a river and had a booming wool trade and related businesses.
The city had quite a mixed bag of people. People of Greek heritage called it home as well as a large group of Jewish people who had been relocated there from Babylonia and Mesopotamia by Antiochus the Great. Antiochus the Great was the father of Cleopatra and according to Jewish historians, this king was relatively kind to the Jews.
- Paul wrote this letter to the church in Colossae around AD 62, about the same time he wrote Philippians and Ephesians. Paul was a prisoner in Rome after having been arrested in Jerusalem where he was accused of stirring up a riot. You can read all about this chapter in Paul’s life in Acts 21-28. Paul is a man who took advantage of every opportunity, and being in jail was his chance to get a few things down on paper. Like Holy inspired scripture. Bam.
- Don’t faint when you read this next statement. Until really studying Colossians, I had Paul issues. But I’ve learned that my impression of him as a grouchy, scold-y, smarty-pants was totally wrong. He was a smarty-pants, but he was also filled with love for God and others and had a burning desire for everyone to know his Jesus. What an example for all of us. And I want a present day “Paul” praying for me! He prayed for blessings for his fellow believers that are still sinking in. I didn’t realize such things were possible this side of heaven. More on that in another post.
- In this letter, Paul is discipling (teaching) his fellow Christians, his FAMILY, from a distance. This wasn’t a church that he started but it is obvious that he loved them just as much as the people he converted. I love that he trusted that they had been taught correctly and wasn’t questioning their place in the family. He was, however, encouraging them to run their race and live out their calling.
- The letter to the people of Colosse is not instructions on how to become a Christian, but how to BE one-how to live holy and whole. I love this definition of living “whole” from Alissa Keeton, founder of Revelation Wellness :
“to live as who we are-a dearly loved, valued, cherished child of God, who happens to live in a fallen world”
Aren’t you encouraged by that? How would our actions and attitudes change if we Christ followers lived as if we truly believed it?
5. This letter is ALL ABOUT JESUS, the Good NEWS, our HOPE!
I love this passage from The Message….” God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.” Colossians 1: 13-14
That’s Jesus, folks.
BUT….Maybe you don’t feel rescued. Maybe you are still wandering around in dead-end alleys and dark dungeons, wallowing in a pit.
Gosh, I hope not. Jesus is right there waiting for you. Let’s talk.