Friends, welcome to the first summer devotional! This summer, we'll be focusing on two New Testament letters from Paul- Colossians & Philippians. Paul wrote both of these letters while he was in prison- during a time where he had no control over his circumstances and was basically living in a state of helplessness. Obviously, we aren't in literal prison right now but I think Paul's words can offer us some perspective in a time when we too are struggling with a lack of control and feelings of helplessness. We'll be engaging with a passage in each chapter of each of these books throughout this summer. In between each week, we'll be offering a reading plan for you to read the passages that we don't cover here on your own. Click here to subscribe to get these devotionals straight to your inbox.
This week we are diving into Colossians chapter 1. Naturally, after reading through this passage, a well known Anchorman quote came to mind,
“I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany.”
I don’t know if God’s apartment smells like “rich mahogany” or if I’m allowed to quote Anchorman on a devotional but here we are. But do you know why this quote came to mind? Because in this passage, God explains why he is a big deal and I, for one, am in complete awe of his majesty from the get go! So let’s dive in.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Questions to Consider
- Who is the “him/he” that Paul is referencing in v. 15-21?
- Supremacy is a “state or of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status. So if Jesus is supreme, why did he have to die? (v. 18-22)
- Would you consider yourself “alienated” from God? (v. 21) If so, what needs to change to get you to receive the reconciliation that Jesus’ offers?
- If you have already accepted Jesus’ reconciliation, is there anything that is keeping him from being “supreme” in your life?
- An idol is craving, wanting or being satisfied by anything that you treasure more than God. It is the thing loved or the person loved, wanted, desired, enjoyed more than God. Significant other, grades, approval from others, success, stability, sex, etc. are just a few of the things that could be considered idols. As the supremacy, Jesus’ desire is to be first in our life. Take some time to write out everything that you are currently putting before Jesus. When you are ready, pray through this list one by one, “In Jesus’ name I chose to put you over ______.”
Do you ever sit and think about the majesty of God? Like, the fact that he is the creator of literally everything. In this passage it even says “for in him all things were created” and starts listing out the details of “all.” As I sit here at my computer I have a perfect view of a park. Leaves populate the trees, squirrels are chasing each other on branches, people are walking and birds are flying. These are all physical representations of God’s creation. But these are only the beginning of his creation and majesty. Consider, for just a minute, all that exists in our world from medical knowledge, to wind, to the wings of a butterfly. Incredible isn’t it? And if that weren't enough, God also sent Jesus, his Son, as a physical representation of God to die on our behalf so that we would have a way to be reconciled to God despite our vast array of flaws and failures as humanity.
The flaws and failures of humanity feel pretty daunting at the moment. If you’ve been on social media or been following the news you might have seen names like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Amy Cooper, and George Floyd. Although racial brokenness is a part of our history as a nation and world, it is still very much a part of our present. And yet, despite the gravity of racial brokeness we are facing, the truth is that Jesus is “making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (v. 20).
We grieve the brokeness in ourselves, in our systems, and in our world and allow Jesus to bring reconciliation. I urge you to do the work on yourself first. True peace can only come from God. As you are reconciled through Jesus, let that work of reconciliation then spread outwards towards our friend circles, families, communities, country, and world.
In Jesus name, in your supremacy, reconcile us and the racial brokeness plaguing our nation to God the Father out of our alienation. Amen.
For our white students, check out this helpful article from InterVarsity's Multiethnic ministries:
"Four Steps White People Can Take Towards Racial Reconciliation"
For our students of color, we see you and we love you. We know that Greek IV must continue to reconcile and make our ministry a place that welcomes you. We are praying for you and grieving with you. Do you need support right now? Check out our ministries for students of color here:
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