happy skier December 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Colossians

True Fulfillment

Fulfillment is something for which we all long. There seems to be a vacuum in our hearts. We seek meaning in life and in the things we do. There are many philosophies and religions in the world, and many of them are deceptive. How can we tell which one will bring fulfillment to our souls?

While confined in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. Comparing the similarity of content in Ephesians 4-6 with Colossians, we can say Colossians was probably written immediately after the book of Ephesians.

Believers in the cities of Ephesus and Colossai faced similar struggles from their cultures. One of the things they both faced was the deceptive philosophies of men. An early type of Gnostic heresy arose among the Colossians; i.e., certain Jewish Christians claimed to have special knowledge apart from the Bible. They claimed fulfillment was found by returning to rules, traditions and religious celebrations. They also claimed special knowledge about angels. Paul argues that kind of teacher, “...has lost connection with the Head [of the Christian church, i.e., Christ], from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (Colossians 2:19, NIV). Paul then challenges them,

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence, (Colossians 2:19-23, NIV).

Christianity is superior to Gnosticism or any other philosophy apart from the Bible. Paul instructs the believers that,

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ [He cut away the evil from your hearts] (Colossians 2:9-11, NIV).

If you have believed in Jesus for your salvation, God has saved you. You now have forgiveness, peace in your soul, and spiritual life (more...). Now, instead of seeking other ways of fulfillment, you need to continue in Christ and discover more of the fullness found in him. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV).

If we have believed in Christ and we have all the fullness we need in Christ, how shall we then live? Paul instructs the Colossians (and us, by application):

Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died [to your old ways of self-indulgent living], and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory, (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV).

Therefore, Paul concludes that we need to put to death our old immoral ways of living, and live for God in ways that are pleasing to him. Have a heart of thankfulness, compassion, humility, love, and let it affect your church, your family, your work, and everything you do. Do whatever you do for the glory of God. Devote yourself to giving thanks, prayer, worship, the reading and the meditation of God’s Word, and Christian fellowship.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation [way of living] be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone, (Colossians 4:5-6, NIV).

Paul prays for the Colossians,

asking God to fill you [them] with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we [Paul and his companions] pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way (Colossians 1:9-10, NIV).
True knowledge, wisdom and fulfillment is found in Jesus Christ, not the vain philosophies of the world. True knowledge of Christ should not fill us with pride; instead it should make us humble, thankful and lead us to live a life of love and service for God. Jesus Christ fills the void within us so we want to share him with others. Do you need Jesus to fill the emptiness in your soul? (more...)

Lessons to Live By

  • Let us not seek our fulfillment in the deceptive philosophies of the world, but in Christ alone. “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ,” (Colossians 2:9, NIV).
  • Set your affection on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1, NIV).
  • Continue in Christ, be thankful, and live a life pleasing to him.

Today’s Bible Memory Verses

Colossians 2:6-8a (NIV)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.”

Here is music to go with today's Bible study: Plain and Simple by the Wisecarvers

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A Look Ahead: Christ fills our emptiness, but we still have many struggles in this life. How do we practice Joyful Living, even in Bad Circumstances? Join us for our Next Lesson in the books of Philemon and Philippians 1-2.

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