“We are a generation of lovers who long to be loved. We spend exorbitant amounts of money to compel others to delight in us. We construct our ideal life on Facebook because we are unsatisfied with our real life, which is tainted with boredom, loneliness, insecurity, and a lack of friends and followers . We do not enjoy the person God created us to be or the life God has gifted us with. We think we are overweight, underweight, too pale, too dark, too plain, or just plain boring. Yet we crave to be delighted in by a significant other. So we pursue misguided avenues to make ourselves delightful, to satisfy our craving to be loved. -Preston Sprinkle
It goes without saying that we spend most of our life looking for things that will give us a sense of fulfillment. To put it another way, we are looking for things, or people, who will make us feel complete. Stop for a moment and ask yourself this question, “when was the last time you truly felt complete or fulfilled”? As Preston mentioned in the above quote, many of us, unfortunately, will pursue fulfillment in relationships, professional titles, drugs, exercise, family, religion and the list goes on and on.
Lately I have been captivated by the book of Colossians. I am starting to believe that Colossians may be the most Christ-centered book in the New Testament. Take a look at 1:15-20 for proof. In Colossians 2:9-10 we read this…
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
What caught my attention is that Paul is writing about being filled, about being made complete. I want this. We all want this. The questions we face when reading these two verses are rather obvious. What does it mean that we have been filled “in him”? Filled with what? What difference does this filling make?
First, as you carefully study this passage in its context you will notice that Paul is not exhorting the people at Colossae to work harder so that they will find fulfillment or a sense of completeness. No, Paul is writing to the Colossians to inform them that they are complete in Jesus Christ just as they are. One of the heresies floating around at Colossae was that there were “other” things, such as circumcision, that a person needed to do to be forgiven and to be pleasing to God. Paul will have none of it. There is nothing missing for the person who has embraced Jesus Christ by faith. We, like the Colossians, have “received Christ Jesus” (verse 6) and therefore have been made righteous, complete as children of God.
Second, when Paul says that we are filled he means that we are supernaturally filled with the life of Jesus Christ. Mysteries of all mysteries! You and I, human flesh, somehow have the Son of God indwelling us, making us whole, making us complete.
What difference does this make in everyday life?
What is missing from your life that is keeping you from experiencing a deep sense of fulfillment? Since we have been filled with the life of Jesus Christ and have been made perfect due to his atoning death on the cross what do we truly need that we do not already have? We have forgiveness. We have grace. We have eternal life. We have the very life of Jesus in us. We lack for nothing. What place does worry or anxiety have for a person who is complete in Jesus Christ?
Are you tired? Colossians is filled with good news for the weary and fatigued. Paul wants us to know that we can stop working so hard to please God. Let’s not twist this. The gospel does not mean that we can live anyway that we want, but it does mean that because of what Jesus did on the cross we have been made fully righteous. Take a deep breath and know that you are dearly loved by God the Father. Charles Spurgeon describes what it means to be “in Him”. Allow these words to ease the ache in your soul…
Let not your sins shake your faith in the all-sufficiency of Jesus. You are, with all your depravity, still in Him, and therefore complete. You have need of nothing beyond what there is in Him. In Him you are at this moment righteous, in Him entirely clean, in Him an object of divine approval and eternal love. Now, as you are, and where you are, you are still complete. Feeble, forgetful, frail, fearful, and fickle in yourself, yet in Him you are all that can be desired. Your unrighteousness is covered, your righteousness is accepted, your strength is perfected, your safety secured, and your heaven certain. Rejoice, then, that you are “complete in Him.”
Addictions (you may choose to use a safer, more socially acceptable word for it) that we pursue to fill us up, to take away our self-perceived emptiness, can be discarded because we are filled with the goodness of God himself. Everything else we pursue for fulfillment pales in comparison to the goodness and beauty of life found in Jesus Christ.
You and I will need to remind ourselves of these gospel truths each and every day of our lives. This world, and our adversary, will strive to make us forget who we are in Jesus Christ and all the blessings we have because of our union with him. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ and live each day in light of that truth.
if we don’t ‘get this’, everything starts to skew, doesn’t it? Learning to rest in the completed work of Christ is my fight of faith. Thanks for your good thoughts!