Colossians 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
Has your faith or love ever been so strong, so evident and so effective that other people have heard about it? More to the point, is your faith and love something people would WANT to hear about?
In the opening verses of the book of Colossians, Paul says that he gave thanks for the “faithful brethren” in Colosse whose faith and love he had heard of. Their faith was famous. Their love was famous. Okay, “famous” is my own perception of Paul’s greeting and might be embellishing the text some, but regardless, their faith and love was of the type and quality that someone was telling somebody about it.
Is your faith and love worthy of being heard about?
It’s not that we should be seeking recognition or attention, that’s not the point. My point is that when I read these verses, I wonder if my faith or love is of such a quality, such a depth or such a consistency that lives around me are being changed to the glory of God. If anyone were to ask about you faith, what kind of answers would be given? If someone were listening to commentary about your love for others, would it please you or embarrass you?
If someone “heard” about you, would they hear about your faith and love? Or would they hear about your sin and selfishness?
The Bible amazes me. The opening verses of Colossians are more or less just a greeting, a type of “hey, how you doing? It’s good to talk to you” introduction to the letter Paul was writing; and yet there is a wealth of thought and insight to be considered (actually that’s true for every Scripture!). As I read the verses, I kept thinking, “what if Paul was writing this to me?”; and “what if Paul was writing this to our church?”.
In verse 2, if Paul was writing to our church, would I be part of the “faithful brethren”? How about you? Are you part of the “faithful brethren”? Is that how someone outside looking in would see you? Or you be grouped in with the “grumbling brethen”, the “jealous brethren” or the “gimme, gimme, gimme Brethren”?
“Gimme, gimme, gimme” is not the title of a 60’s beebop tune….
it’s the unfortunate condition of a large part
of today’s church that is only concerned with
“getting” rather than faithfulness and love.
In verses 3-4 Paul gives thanks and continually prays for the Colossians because he had “heard of” their faith and love. Reading that, I can’t help but wonder if my own faith and love has ever been anything worth hearing about. How about yours? Not in a celebrity, look-what-I’ve-done, attention-getting sort of way; but faith and love that is noteworthy because it is consistent, enduring, sacrificial and Christ-honoring.
What produces that kind of faith and love? What is the foundation? Paul pretty matter-of-factly reveals the answer in the next verse:
Colossians 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, (NKJV;emphasis mine)
Real faith, and real love, has to have a motivation that transcends the temporal. Faith and love that are dependent on how people respond, or on what earthly reward is received, doesn’t stand a chance. Faith and love are all about a life of sacrificial service; of giving yourself to others; of subordinating your personal desires to the leadership and control of Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the rich ruler (Mark 10.17), or the poor widow (Mark 12.42), real faith and real love are manifested in dedicating all you have, and all you are, to the one who saved you. Why? Because Jesus is HOPE. Hope that is revealed in the Gospel and laid up in heaven for all those who turn to Jesus the Savior.
Hope, found in the truth of the Gospel, is the
foundation for faith and love that makes a difference.
Everyone has faith in something… faith in themselves; faith in the world; faith in money; even faith in faith. But only faith built around the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith that produces Godly results; results worthy of being talked about; results worthy of being famous in the Kingdom.
Likewise, everyone has love. It is centered around one of two things: Self or God (*see note). Self-love takes on many forms (even the claim of self-hate is, in reality, a form of self-love because it is centered intensely around self). Love that is centered around the hope of the Gospel is a love that makes a difference. It is a love that is worth talking about. It’s a love worthy of fame.
Well, I don’t want to beat the point to death. I was just really struck this morning wondering if my faith and love is something worthy of being “heard of” by anyone else. One thing I can know for sure… if my faith and love are built on the “hope which is laid up” for me “in heaven” because of the “truth of the gospel”… it WILL be a faith and love worthy of being heard about.
Lord, Help us to have a faith and love built on the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Give us faith that draws us close to You. Give us love that points others to Your Blessed Son. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you have a depth of faith that can’t help but be noticed by those around you? Is your faith put into action, demonstrated by your love for others? If someone were to “hear” about you, would they hear of your faith and love? Does your faith make a difference in the lives around you?
Application: Of course, I’m not talking about seeking notoriety or recognition when I talk of your faith being “heard of”. I’m talking about having the type of “faith and love” that is so genuine, so effective and so real… that you are counted among the “faithful brethren” by the Lord.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?
*Note: obviously all Christians have a mixture of “Self” love and love for God. We all struggle with loving “Self”, just to varying degrees. But… even though we may have self-love present, we can still have a life that is characterized by consistently decreasing self-love; and obvious growing love for God. This person would be identified as one who lives a life centered around loving God, not loving Self.