I recently finished the book Classic Christianity by Bob George, which I highly recommend. It has revealed so many simple truths that have been earth shattering for me; especially because I tend to make life much more complicated than it needs to be. One of the most memorable sections talks about Jesus’ words in John 15:5 (NLT):
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.
For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Bob George expounds:
“Notice some things about the branches that are abiding in the vine. They aren’t working hard. They aren’t getting ‘burned out’. They aren’t concentrating on themselves at all, nor on the fruit. The branches are totally dependant on the vine to do the producing. The only preoccupation of the branch should be the moment-by-moment receiving of the life of the vine…you and I are not responsible for producing the Christian life! We aren’t able to produce the Christian life – only Christ can produce it.”
This message really encapsulates so much of our current teaching series on Colossians 3. Being “Alive” and discovering our new life found in Christ, is like the picture of the vine and branch. It is in the daily journey of trusting in God, of dying to our former nature, and the new birth of His nature in us that we discover more of our purpose and identity as His children.
The passage for this week’s teaching is Colossians 3:16-17 (NASB):
“Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
When I was reflecting on this scripture, I was reminded of John 1, where the apostle introduces his Gospel, stating, “In the beginning was the Living Word of God, and by it all things were created …. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth…. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:1,3,14,16-17 NASB)
In light of this, when Paul says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you”, it is actually Jesus the “Living Word” that dwells within us. This is at the heart of the Gospel; that Jesus didn’t come to simply give us more things to ponder, and a better way to live, but He actually came to dwell in us, to live with us, and be our new life!
The desire to grow, to encourage each other, and for our “every word and deed” to be for Christ, is something that we can’t generate or sustain on our own. But when the Living Word, in whom “grace and truth was realized”, invites us to abide in Him, we find a peace and rest that we couldn’t have imagined. Like the vine and the branch; we have the incredible blessing of being Sons and Daughters of God, who is working in us, transforming us, providing for us, and sustaining us through every circumstance with unfailing love.
I am starting to see in my life that as I step away from distraction and instant-gratification and into more meaningful and intentional living, that Gods “Truth that sets us free” is not a cliché, but a powerful force. God wants to not only dispel the lies I believe, but show us the truth of who we are In Him.
Timothy Keller has said, “May we become obsessed with the Grace and Love of Jesus”.
When we walk with Him, and strengthen each other in His truth and love, we experience a fullness that we could never have on our own.
He is our Life. He is our Source.
Reflections on Colossians 3:16-17