You have heard the statement made before that life is a balancing act. Trying to keep all the things that life throws at you balanced. Not allowing one or any number of things from knocking you off balance.
I was reading his morning from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae. In studying the history and the circumstances surrounding this letter, we learn that Epaphras visited Paul in prison and reported to him what was happening in the church that was at Colossae. It was unfortunate, but he reported that some had begun to listen to false teachers. Thus it was Paul‘s concern they would turn away from the true gospel. Even that they might cause others to turn away.
As I read his letter, I had the thought that there is much being said today in the church. Some who could be said to be false teachers, even as there were in Paul’s day. Now they may not or do not deny the gospel message, instead, there are delicate even unsubstantiated change. Often they teach extra things or add rules to the gospel. Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae to remind them about Jesus Christ and about his true message. Paul emphasised that Christ is superior. Paul wrote more about Christ in this letter than in any other of his letters. He reminded the Christians that their past life had gone. Christ was now their life. Christ had made them free from rules and evil powers. Paul then went on to teach the Christians how to live this new life.
In Colossians 2:6-7 NLT Paul said
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Paul had illustrated how the roots of a tree grow deep. This root system then provides strength in protecting the tree from the storms it will encounter. It also provides the nourishment necessary for the tree to grow and thus survive. His point is to explain the need for the believer to be rooted in Christ. Deep roots of strength and nourishment.
In the next verses he explains clearly how to deal with things that can happen. “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:8-10 NLT
As I was reading this and other parts of the letter, I was struck by what was happening then and what is happening today. Actually, this has been going on for a long time. It happens all the time when we are distracted and some even led astray from Christ. What I am saying is the main thing stops being the main thing. The focus becomes other things and not the real thing. A dear friend used to say “all in the name of Jesus, ain’t”. That is bad grammar but good preaching.
How discerning are you about the things you hear and read? The writer in Hebrews 4:12 said For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Scripture indicates that our discernment is necessary but not of our own means but from God‘s Word.
When things are added to the Word even in order to facilitate a deeper or more dedicated life, that becomes a problem. When the believer begins to go about doing or expressing things that may be honorable and needed but not Biblically supported, there is a problem that develops. First, for the one who does so and then for those who that one influences.
Listen, I am not calling out any thing or anybody. There are no revelations being made here. This is simply a thought to ponder. The old saying comes to mind that sometimes we “can’t see the forest for the trees”. There is a lot out there and it obstructs our view of what the focus is to be so don’t let Jesus get lost.
In Romans 14:16 in the Amplified Bible, we read Therefore do not let what is a good thing for you [because of your freedom to choose] be spoken of as evil [by someone else].
Now in the earlier verses, Paul was speaking about being a stumbling block to another by doing something that would cause that person to struggle in their faith. The issue was food but that was simply the example from which Paul spoke. In that day and today, it can be anything that is done or said that distracts from Jesus. There are many things we as Christians should and do comment on that are important matters. Yet, if we allow those things to be the highlight of our post and/or conversations then we are no longer following what our Savior asked of us to do.
In Luke 24 beginning with verse 44 we read in the NLT-
“Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.”
What scripture tells us provides us with the knowledge to express the account of a witness about Jesus to others. We are only a witness of what Jesus has done. Anything else we are not a witness, but simply a voice advocating an opinion or thought.
We will probably all agree, or at least I hope so, that it is all about Jesus. When we keep the main thing the main thing we cannot and will not go wrong. However, if and when we as individuals, denominations even churches add to the Scripture we are no longer who Jesus said we were to be witnesses of all these things.
In God’s Grace,