“We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” – Colossians 1:9a
Nowadays, a lot of people treat their spirituals lives like dinner at the Golden Corral. We grab a plate and step up to the religious smorgasbord, then pick and choose what we like. We might say, “I’m going to take a big helping of Christianity. But I’m also going to get a side of Buddhism and a little bit of Wicca and dash of pop psychology and a big helping of me-centered mumbo jumbo on top.” It might be tasty, and it sure is colorful. But is it anywhere close to the truth?
That’s what we sometimes call religious syncretism, where we try to merge all religions together into one and pretend that the incompatible differences are actually compatible. In this post-Christian culture, more and more people are wondering: “Is Jesus really enough? Is He enough to give my life meaning? Is He enough to help me rise above my problems? Is He enough to make me happy? Is Jesus Christ enough?” And the Bible answers in a word: Yes. Jesus is enough.
Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. Jesus isn’t part of the answer to your deepest needs. Jesus isn’t part of the answer to our world’s greatest problems. Jesus Christ is the answer—He is the whole package. In other words … Jesus plus nothing equals EVERYTHING.
That’s what Paul had to teach the people of Colosse, where they had eagerly embraced the good news of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, a lot of other teachings had begun to seep in, resulting in a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and Eastern mysticism. It was a Golden Corral of religions that didn’t completely ignore Jesus Christ, but it pushed him to the back of the plate. Sound familiar? In this culture we live where most people treat religion like the Golden Corral, the message Paul gives them in the Book of Colossians may be more relevant that ever before.
So, how did Paul address the people who had slid into this religious hodgepodge? With faith, hope and love. In the first few verses of his letter to the church in Colosse, he praises and encourages them in their new-found belief: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your FAITH in Christ Jesus and of the LOVE you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the HOPE that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth the gospel that has come to you” (Col. 1:3-6a).
The Colossians needed to be set straight on a few things, but Paul opens by revealing his heart for the church—and the church’s faith, hope and love. Then, and only then, he goes on to pray for their spiritual wisdom and understanding: “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (v. 9).
Isn’t that a glorious prayer? It’s perfect for someone who’s stumbled into a trumped-up, Golden-Corral-style version of God’s truth. The Colossians obviously were in need of spiritual wisdom and understanding. But never forget: It applies to you and me as well. Never underestimate how vitally important it is to keep growing in your knowledge of God and His will. If you aren’t spending time in the word, being filled with that knowledge, you will easily be duped by any smooth-talking preacher or celebrity who doesn’t proclaim the truth. It happens all the time. Every day across
Christians who don’t know God’s word
or understand God’s word get pulled
into Mormonism, or into the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or into the health-and-wealth
heresy that many churches preach. America
I’d love for you to start praying a prayer like this, for yourself and any other Christian you’re praying for: “Oh, Father God, don’t just give us SOME knowledge of you. Won’t you fill us to the brim with the knowledge of You and Your will? Won’t You give us, not just SOME spiritual wisdom and understanding, but ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding?”
Paul prays for his Christian readers to be filled to overflowing with spiritual wisdom and understanding. And today I pray the same for you.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.