The Colossians possessed a strong faith (complete trust or confidence) in Christ, deep love (agape) for their brethren and hope (confident assurance, NOT wishful thinking) about their future in Heaven. Even though Paul was in prison, he heard about the Colossians faith in Christ and love for their brother because of the hope that they had in Heaven (4-5). Do people around us see our faith in Christ, love for others and the hope we have in Christ?
Paul tells the Colossians that in the same way they were living their lives (with faith, love and hope), the gospel was bearing fruit in the whole world (6). If we want to bear fruit in our personal lives like the gospel was and is bearing fruit in the world, we need to start with our faith, love and hope.
Jesus taught his followers about bearing fruit (John 15:1-17). He said that any branch that wanted to be fruitful had to be connected to the True Vine – Jesus Christ (John 15:2,4,5). Any branch apart from the True Vine will not bear fruit (John 15:4,5,6). Abiding in Christ (connecting to the True Vine) and forsaking the world requires trust and confidence (faith) in Christ. Jesus also commanded that we love one another (John 15:12,13,17). Jesus also promises (or gives hope to) his followers who abide in him that they will remain in His love and be rewarded (John 15:7,9,10,16). We can be confidently assured (true hope) that Jesus will keep his promises.
According to Greek mythology Ulysses, on his voyage home, put beeswax in the ears of his sailors and tied himself to the mast of his ship as he passed an island inhabited by alluring sirens. The call of the sirens made Ulysses struggle and fight against the ropes while his sailors could not hear their call. Orpheus also traveled past the island of the sirens. He, however, sang beautiful music himself. His sailors were so enticed by Orpheus’ song that they were drawn to their own commander and not the sirens on the island.
We often live our lives in Christ like Ulysses. We cannot plug our ears (like his sailors) to the temptations that Satan sends our way, so we strain and struggle to try to avoid the traps of the world as Ulysses did. But if we abide in Christ, bearing fruit through our faith in Him, love for others and hope for our future; then the alluring temptation of Satan will be drowned out by the beautiful song of Christ’s sacrificial death and his resurrection.
Do we want to strain and struggle to do what is right? Or do we want to abide in Christ where there is true power against Satan (because it’s Christ’s power and not ours)? Although it is impossible for us to possess complete trust and confidence (faith) in Christ, love (agape) for mankind and confident assurance (hope) in our future, we can strengthen the faith, love and hope we do have. The more we abide in Christ, the less struggle it will be to live as Christ would have us.
Have a blessed week