I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee — the home of Elvis, real barbecue, and one of the largest fault lines in the United States. My childhood featured earthquake lessons and emergency drills and preparedness lectures and — just once — an eternal, trembling moment spent under a table while the earth swayed and steadied herself on her feet.
I learned two things that day. One, the term “preparedness” is relative. And two, most everything else is, too.
When you can’t count on the ground where you stand, you can’t count on much at all.
Colossians 1:22-23 says this:
“…He has now reconciled (you) in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…
Paul tells the Christians at Colossae (and us, too) that Christ has reconciled them to present them holy and blameless to God…if they are stable, steadfast and not shifting in the faith.
At first, this seems like a tall order for someone like me, who often feels like her spiritual steadiness measures 8.0 on the Richter Scale. My consistency is fissured and cracked — certainly not stable and steadfast. My fears have sometimes been seismic.
But these verses call us to be “stable and steadfast” — not in our strength – but in our faith in the One who is able. He says our status as “holy and blameless and above reproach” depends on us standing firm — not in our ability to keep our own promises — but in the unfailing hope that is promised to us through the gospel.
We may tremble, but the ground of God’s grace never does.
This is the heart of all of scripture — the very essence of a command like be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). That word “still” in the original Hebrew means to sink down, be feeble, let drop, be disheartened, go slack.
To become stable and steadfast, we think we have to power up, stand strong, be firm, do better.
Instead, God wants us to become disheartened in the weakness of our own shaky strength so we will never be tempted to shift from the power in His.
He wants us to be still and know that I am God — to sink down to the ground and feel how solid He is.
Be encouraged, for the Rock upon which we build as followers of Christ — the Truth, the Way and the Life — is immoveable.
Heaven and earth and pain and problems will shake and crumble and pass away, but His words never will.
Read the next post in The Colossians Project.
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