Colossians: Week 4

Rooted in Him.

Welcome! We gathered with our group at the shop for study and it was such a joy! The Holy Spirit Himself swept in with them.

We can’t emphasize enough the blessing of having a like-hearted group for Jesus to explore faith with and study Scripture. We hope and pray you have found such a fellowship to walk with through His Word.

Lord, Your grace abounds when Your people gather with a heart for You. Bless the ones we gather with in person and here on our blog. Open our hearts wide to You and root us firmly in Christ. Amen.

Taking time in God’s Word.

Meditating on the Word.

In our slow paced study of Colossians: Rooted in Him, we have discussed and encouraged the practice of meditating on God’s Word.

meditate: to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over 

–Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)

Focusing our thoughts and reflecting on God’s Word are ways to meditate on Scripture. Word Study is one method of pondering His Word by literally focusing on a single word.

Since the New Testament was first written in Greek, most of us read translations of the Bible. So when we talk about word study as an aspect of meditation one practice is to go back to the original language. The Internet has made this so much easier with the resources available. 

The Daily Grace Bible study we are using notes a free site that offers a host of study tools, BlueLetterBible.org. On this site you can find an interlinear study of a verse with the original language given word by word, including pronunciation, and links to a lexicon/dictionary to tell you the meaning of the Greek. 

Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

Word study begins when one word in a phrase catches your attention. Whether it jumps off the page in your mind’s eye or you don’t know what it means, when you notice a word, dig a little deeper. Study the word to focus your thoughts more clearly on what God’s Word is saying. 

Has a single word caught your attention in Colossians this week? What did you do with it? Did you dig deeper? What did you discover?

Carol says:

As has become my rhythm in this study of Colossians, I started with the week’s Memory Verse. I wrote it in my journal with room to write my thoughts about it during the week.

And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

Memory verse journaling.

The first thing I noticed when I wrote the verse in my journal was the word “let.” We must let or allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. It’s a choice we make. The first thing we need to do is recognize what we are letting rule our hearts. If it’s not the peace of Christ, what is it?

As I focused on the memory verse through the week, the word “rule” caught my attention. I circled it in my journal and went in search of the original language it was translated from. The Greek translated as rule means: 1) to be an umpire 2) to decide, determine 3) to direct, control, rule. This definition came from the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon.

Seeing being an umpire was the first definition I then took my study to an English dictionary where I looked up umpire. An umpire is “one having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties as one appointed to decide, and as an impartial third party chosen to arbitrate” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). 

Reflecting on the thought of letting the peace of Christ be the umpire in our hearts brought some interesting understanding. First, we need to allow God to make the ruling decisions in our hearts when they are stirred up with emotion, whether it’s anger, fear, confusion, doubt, whatever... He is the impartial third party who has a perfect view and perfect eye to see all fouls and make the right call.

The second thought or reality reveals we have a serious competition going on in our hearts for which we desperately need a Righteous Umpire — but we must let Him rule. We must defer our flesh’s entirely partial complaints to His rulings. Like it or not, this is the way of peace. 

Once we recognize who or what is currently influencing our hearts, as Believers we need to make sure we allow Christ’s peace to rule and have the final say on what is stealing our peace.

Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Stacy says:

Let no one condemn you by delighting in ascetic practices… Colossians 2:18

The word ascetic drew my attention this week because I didn’t know what the word meant. Merriam-Webster defines ascetic as “practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline.” As I scrolled further the definition turned to the root of this word which is the Greek word asketitos. It is an adjective that means laborious exercise or work and implies abstention from pleasure, comfort, or self-indulgence.

My word study pointed me to the idea that the spiritual disciplines we practice are not how we measure spiritual growth or maturity. Just because I fast or pray in some specific way doesn’t set me apart from someone who doesn’t. We would do well to heed Paul’s words to the Colossians. Spiritual practices are not the measure of our growth, they are simply tools to help us grow. 

Sharing our hearts. 

At the heart of our week’s study is the all-sufficient nature of Christ. We need Jesus and nothing else.

And you are complete in Him…
Colossians 2:10

Hearts filled with Jesus.

Complete meaning we are filled up to the brim, so that nothing shall be wanting (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). When we are in Him, we have all that we need.

Is this a truth you can wrap your mind and heart around? Is it one you can live with? daily? 
Is there something you think you need in addition to Jesus? Why?

Carol says:

I’ve been walking with Jesus, pursuing Him in Word and prayer and obedience for a little over twenty-five years now. And the truth that He is all I need is becoming clearer to me the deeper I go with Him, but it has been a battle.

All the other things I thought I needed, He has revealed as empty or He has removed them one way or another from my life. Which is good, because the things we think we need alongside Jesus are really the things which we elevate above Him as idols. They are dangerous.

Lately, I’m the one in the conversation that brings up Jesus as the answer to the latest health crisis, social issue, what to wear to an event… “Ask Jesus.” I know, I get a lot of strange looks and I’m pretty sure people in my little world think I’m a fanatic these days. Over the top, radical, when it comes to Him as the answer for all things.

But here is what I’ve discovered on my journey so far. The more I trust Him, the more I obey, the more He reveals Himself as the All-Sufficient God. He prepares me for what is ahead, because He knows what’s coming when I don’t. He walks me through whatever I’m in the middle of — heartbreak or joy, defeat or victory — because He knows how to get me through and what He is doing with it.

Yes, I’m beginning to really believe, He is ALL I need.

Stacy says:

Just last week my husband and I looked at a house to purchase. Later, as I imagined living in the house and how to make it our home I thought, I’ll put the bed in this room, my pie safe there. And won’t my hutch look lovely in that spot.

It didn’t take long for me to snap out of my dreaming and remind myself, Stacy… all of those things are gone.

Most days come with some thought process similar to this. Most days I must remind myself, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1, NIV)

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Discussing the Word.

Let’s review what we’ve studied this week.

Read Colossians 2:8-3:2.

What day spoke to your heart this week? Why?

Carol says:

Actually, many of the days this week spoke to my heart, and primarily through word study.

Beware lest anyone captivate you through philosophy and vain deceit, in the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world, and not Christ.
Colossians 2:8 MEV

I’m currently reading the Modern English Version of the Bible, a newer translation based on the King James Version. I’m familiar with this verse and I haven’t seen “captivate” used in a translation. The one I’ve heard most is “see to it no one takes you captive” (ESV, NIV). But “captivate” is different, it requires cunning, charm, an artful irresistible appeal (Merriam-Webster), not just the strength to overpower you. 

I also went back to the KJV and NKJV to see what they started with before choosing captivate. These translations both used the word “cheat,” which implies trickery, sleight of hand, and deceit.

Photo by Sri Lanka on Unsplash

Then the original language means “to carry off as booty” or as a captive to be enslaved (ESL). Which all goes back to the competition in the Memory Verse and the need for an umpire! We need to be so wary of false teachings. There are forces in the world competing for our lives and hearts.

This also connects to our union with Christ emphasized on Day 2.

…buried with Him in baptism, in which also you were raised with Him through the faith of the power of God… Colossians 12 MEV

On this day we discovered by our baptism into His death and resurrection, we are no longer subject to the forces of the world that want to cheat us and steal us as booty! Christ has disarmed the forces of darkness which are our true enemy (Ephesians 6:12).

There is real freedom and power in Christ when we know His truth, let Him rule in our hearts, and live our lives rooted in Him, not relying on ourselves one single bit!

Is there a phrase or photograph that caught your attention?

Stacy says:

The photograph on Day 1 and it’s caption, “In Christ we have all that we need,” spoke to me in a surprising way. Because what I see in that picture is abundance. A bouquet of beautiful flowers so big you can hardly see the woman holding them. 

In Christ, I shall not want.

Sometimes my perspective of need is the bare minimum, and if I’m honest I spend a lot of time trying to determine a need from a want. While this may not seem like a bad practice, I’ve noticed it actually changes the way I see God. It shrinks my prayer life and keeps me from truly believing I serve an abundant, over the top King. A Father who delights in giving good gifts for no other reason than I am His child.

Did you write a paraphrase of the verses? Why or why not?

Carol says:

My paraphrase was pretty brief but it is the heart of what I need to remember about this week’s passage. 

“Don’t be duped and cheated out of real life any longer!
Focus on Jesus! Set your hope on Him — pursue His life His way and find real life!
He is all you need!”

What about God’s character or your own condition became apparent to you this week?

Stacy says:

I tend to forget who God truly is, and thus who I am in Him. The verses remind me God is King right now, in this place and this time. He is sovereign and all powerful. Able to move mountains and molehills. Nothing is too difficult for Him. He has the authority to rule and reign. And he does so with mercy, love and grace. 

As for me, I’m a daughter of the Most High God.  

Photo by Peter Vanosdall on Unsplash

What response did you have, or steps are you being called to take as these words sink deep into your soul?

Carol says:

The steps I’m being called to take are found in Day 5 on p 96, where the final paragraph described how to set our minds on the things of Christ: His focus and His goals.

“What does this mean for our struggles, our sufferings, and the everyday mundane of life? … It means that we can live with eternity in mind. We can focus on what matters and trust God with the daily anxieties that will soon be forgotten. And for the deep sufferings and heavy pain that weigh on our souls, we can run to Jesus knowing that He has conquered all sin, suffering, and pain on the cross through the power of the resurrection. We can preach the gospel to ourselves… We can remember that resurrection life is not something that God desires for us someday, but that we can walk in right now — not in our own strength, but in our union with Christ. — Colossians: Rooted in Him

Steps to take deep root.

My steps in this season of suffering in watching loved ones wander is:
Keep an eternal perspective.
Be fully aware of the victory Christ achieved on the cross: It is done.
(Revelation 21:6)
Preach the gospel to myself.
Remember I walk in the light of His strength NOW and can rest in Him for what He’s doing today.

Closing Prayer

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2 NIV

The truth of Jesus is woven throughout every verse in our reading this week. Remembering Christ is the center of all might be the first step in setting our minds on things above. Let’s read the words of St. Patrick as our closing prayer today.

As you pray the words take time to pause and meditate on each phrase.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen.

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

Resting in Him as all we need, right alongside you.

Stacy & Carol

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