It has been challenging to write as our lives have been filled with grandchildren for the past several weeks. We are enjoying having a house full of children, but they change our regular routines.
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (Colossians 2:2-4 NIV)
Paul has a clear purpose as he writes. He is concerned that the people who have chosen to follow Jesus will not continue. The threat to their faithfulness is deception and the deception comes in the form of well crafted arguments that sound good. I think the threat of deception is even greater today. Every waking moment we are bombarded with information that is packaged and presented in ways to capture our attention and look good. We consciously know that using one toothpaste rather than another will not impact the quality of our relationships, but the constant message is that yes it will. We should be concerned because the amount of money spent on various forms of deception tells us that we are easily deceived.
What is Paul’s solution? First, Paul wants us to be encouraged in heart. When I am discouraged and hurting my focus quickly turns to me. As soon as this happens I begin looking for solutions and I’m vulnerable to anything that looks better than what I’m experiencing. I am easily deceived. Paul wants me and you to look beyond our immediate circumstances to see Jesus and the hope that His resurrection provides.
The second part of the solution is that we would be united in love. It is difficult, but not impossible, to deceive an entire group. It becomes even harder when the members of the group care more about the others than they do themselves. This is love and love for another increases our objectivity. In our case, as followers of Jesus, it increases our understanding of who Jesus is and what He knows about us and the world. In other words, our relationship with Jesus increases our ability to see truth and this is the surest way to avoid being deceived. When we are united in love the power of Jesus in our relationships encourages us.
All around us people are being deceived every moment. They are exchanging the promise of eternal life for things that appear to be pleasurable in the moment. When we are equally deceived we offer no hope to the world around us. The world needs to see truth and I pray that they would see it in us.
For my grandchildren:
God is for you and you can learn that by loving your brothers and sisters.