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The Substance is Christ

Colossians 2:16-19

So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us. — Colossians 2:16-19, The Message


“The substance is Christ.”

Are you beginning to notice a theme in this letter? I am. It is becoming more and more clear that one of Paul’s concerns for this congregation was that they were possibly missing out on the centrality of Christ.

Could you imagine a group of Christians that are so completely concerned with…

specific diets,
worship styles, and
holidays,

…that they miss out on what is most important to their faith?

I mean that could never happen, right?

Oof.

If this isn’t a passage for our time, I don’t know what is.

We live in an age where the things that don’t matter have become of greatest importance and the things of greatest importance seem to longer matter. What takes top billing to many is the decoration of a coffee cup or the greeting of a store clerk. Yet, what matters most is our willingness to love our neighbor as ourselves and love our enemy.

Christian bookstores sell out of things like The Daniel Diet and books like Mere Christianity collect dust on their shelves.

Why?

Because we have lost the center.

No longer is Christ the center. So many other things crowd out Christ because the way of Christ is too hard, too sacrificial, too cross-oriented.

As I head into the weekend I’m going to be wrestling with this question, “Is Christ my center? Do I find all I need for spiritual sustenance in Christ? Is Christ the substance?”

0 thoughts on “The Substance is Christ”

  1. After being born again and given fresh, new spiritual eyes, I was shocked to find as I ventured to the physical “church” on Sunday mornings how much it looked like the World. In my ignorance and in a brand new relationship with Christ, I was surprised by how the people at “church” didn’t behave like believers (from my perspective) at all! Yet, myself, having time to mature, why should it be a surprise that the church looks like the world?! If believers in Christ are participating in the customs of an evermore non-Christ following culture, what other outcome is there? My family is currently reading Ezekiel and God’s response to Jerusalem following the evil ways of the nations around them. His response is harsh and heartbreaking so even though we have the grace of God through Christ, we desire to be righteous all the more so as not to anger God and one step further, to not cause Him hurt or disappointment or to be broken hearted by our sin. We give each day our all to submit to Christ and watch His Spirit do the rest. I can’t think of a better way to live (witnessing His miracles in our weaknesses).

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