Colossians 2:8 taught us that we can’t let ourselves be held captive the latest fads and rules and internet wisdom of the age, but instead that we must be captive to the life and work of Christ, with body, mind, soul and strength.
And fortunately, Colossians 2:9 shows us the exact, detailed, step-by-step way to do these things:
For in Him (Jesus) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.
Instead of tips and tricks or a helpful to-do list, the Apostle Paul comes at me with a theological statement — the doctrine of the incarnation: Jesus was fully God and fully man.
Gee, that’s nice, Paul. I’ll file that in my good-to-know folder. Now, if you could just direct me to the how-to section?
No, Paul says, this is the how-to. Knowing this truth — believing that all of God is in all of Jesus — is precisely the way to love Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength, and to resist captivity to the latest philosophies of this world.
Because, if I truly believe that all the fullness of God is in Jesus, I’ll know I won’t be able to find one sliver of God apart from Him.
If my heart and mind become saturated in the reality that God took on flesh — if they become steeped in all the implications of how Jesus plunged into time on a rescue mission for my soul and affection — I’ll stop looking for love or hope or fulfillment in any person or idea or passion that takes me captive apart from Christ.
Always, always — it’s the truth that sets me free.
To obey God — to love God — to know what I need to do next, I need to know what’s true about Him, not about myself. I must stop looking for faith formulas and feelings, and instead learn more about the One I follow.
I must always go to His Word, not asking what does this say about me?, but what does this say about my God?
I need theology instead of me-ology.
The implications are everything:
• Me-ology begs for a change in circumstances. Theology asks how can this situation reveal God to me?
• Me-ology has me wondering if I’m doing the right thing, panicked if I’m in His will. Theology tells me God’s plans will all be fulfilled, and that if I seek Him I will find Him — I will be where He is.
• Me-ology looks to God only to solve my latest problem; my spiritual attention-span doesn’t last past my latest crisis. Theology captivates me with His glory in both pain and peace. I can’t look away.
• Me-ology drags me from drama to drama, manufacturing trouble because it’s the only way I know how to stay close to God. Theology teaches me how to enjoy His presence even when things go right.
• Me-ology sends me to church to meet my needs. Theology draws me to worship, communion and the Word to keep me close to the story of How He saved me. I walk forward into my week, encouraged to follow Him out of love, not obligation.
• Me-ology digs through God’s Word, looking for loopholes that let me do what I want. Theology lets the Word shape me, no matter how much carving it takes.
• Me-ology compares my life to other Christians both present and past; I can never be like them. Theology tells me my God is their God — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — and that’s all that counts.
• Me-ology ties my joy to how I feel and behave. Theology is about who I belong to.
• Me-ology exhausts my heart with striving — trying to figure myself out — wondering how I can make myself better. Theology says It is finished.
And the beautiful, surprising gift of theology over me-ology — of learning more about God instead of about myself — is this: when I focus on Him instead of me, who I am and what I should do begin to grow clearer and clearer.
I grow confident in making decisions based on His eternal covenant and character, instead of chasing the fleeting whims of my own.
I press to the center of His heart, and I find myself there, loved and guided and guarded beyond measure.
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