Everyday Christian: after reading it many times I think I get this verse ... finally
I think, sadly, I am pretty good at not getting what a pretty plain bit of the Bible says. I am not talking about a part of Scripture that gets hotly debated, or that fills a shelf in a theological library. Not the sort of verse that, if your are using a Bible with footnotes, it suggests an alternative meaning. Not even the kind that excites debate on the Eternity facebook page.
I am talking about Colossians 2 verse 6 (and 7 for context) which reads (in the NIV translation): “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Paul has been telling the good folk of the town of Colossae in his letter to them that he’s delighted with them, even though he can’t be with them. I think a good review from Paul – considering how tough he is in his letters to other churches – was kind of special.
But verse 6 is something I have always glossed over. I have read it as “You have received Christ. Continue to live in him.”
I glossed over it when it came up in Zoom Church. But then a mate read verse six in his favourite “Mirror” paraphrase: “Your daily walk is no different from that initial embrace when you first understood your divine association in him.’
Now the Mirror Bible is a very idiosyncratic effort – like other paraphrases it reflects a particular slant in places. So when my mate reads from it in our Bible study, I ask – is this helpfully rephrasing things in the a regular translation like the NIV, or is it something else?
The time around I found it more than helpful – I found it challenging. Looking in the Mirror version helped me see that Paul is saying that our daily experience of Christ should be as powerful and dynamic today as when we first became a Christian. Jesus should loom as large in our thoughts and actions he ever did.
Is that true of you? I have to say it is not true of me. I have kind of got used to Jesus. He is not top of mind in as he was the exciting days when first I explored following him. Then I was powerfully aware of my weakness and sin, and his love and care for me in his death on the cross. Now, I give way to daily anxieties and cares and neglect to trust him, or to realise he is looking after me as he has promised.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows,” said Jesus. (Matthew 10 29–31)
I know that in a crisis – several crises –I have turned to Christ and found his presence as powerful as it ever was. It is on the ordinary days that I fail to live up to the Colossians 2:6 challenge to daily live with Christ just as I received him.
But the challenges of life periodically have shown to me that it is possible!