Simple truths guide our lives.
It’s simply true that I have class at 9 am most days. It’s simply true that if I drink coffee too late, I won’t go to sleep. It’s simply true that I have got to go to the grocery today or I am going to starve my husband.
Last week, we dug into the most simple of truths–the one that guides existence. The Gospel.
In studying Colossians, we are over and over reminded of some of these. Perhaps my favorite one, though, will be the simple truth of the brilliance of Jesus. Turn with me to Colossians 1. Drink in one of the most vivid pictures of Him we get in His word. Join me in learning what His brilliance is, how it guides our lives, and why it matters in the most crucial of ways.
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He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.
(Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)
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The brilliance of Jesus beckons Him the firstborn
In Jewish culture, firstborn meant far, far more than “the oldest.” It communicated preeminence. It held position. This child received his family inheritance, he acquired all responsibility, he was number one in rank. Therefore, Jesus is the highest in rank of all creation.
But how is Jesus one with creation if He Himself was not created?
You see, this passage does not communicate that Jesus was literally “born first,” it reminds us that He is the authority. His word goes. His way is higher and better and greater and He bore the responsibility of the sins of creation.
Because it was by and for and through Him that all things were created
He cannot be created because He did the creating. This is the beauty of the trinity–the God-in-three-persons miracle that is our one saving grace. God the Father was creating the universe for God the Son and God the Spirit, and God the Son and God the Spirit were creating for God the Father. It is this gorgeous cycle of three separate entities all working and living as one that defines the very being of God.
Let it confuse you.
Let it blow your mind.
It doesn’t make sense to humans because we are not God.
Know this, beloved. You and I are creation. We are the very thing that was created by, for, and through Jesus. We were crafted by His hands. We were crafted for His glory. We were crafted through His likeness…
…so that He could hold us together completely.
Yesterday I fell apart. I sat on my bedroom floor and had my first anxiety attack in years. It came suddenly. It came swiftly. It came with the fullest of forces, knocking me off my feet and into a heap on my carpet. In the prior weeks, I had felt good–like I had it all together. Like I was further ahead in spiritual discipline than I ever had been and closer to Jesus than I have ever known to be.
I still broke.
I am going to break. I am going to crumble. I am going to fall apart when I feel so eloquently put together. My chest is going to cave in and I will stop breathing for a few moments.
But even so, my God, my God does not forsake me!
Jesus cried out on the cross so that I would not have to cry out on my bedroom floor. I don’t have to cry out because He is already with me.
If He is holding all things together, if He is allowing the earth to spin at just the right speed, the sun to stay at just the right distance, and galaxies to shine in worship of Him, why do I doubt that he might not hold me together? This is a God who didn’t come live and die so that the universe might last. He lived and died that we might eternally live in brilliance with Him.
And He will lead us as we do so.
Church, let us stop trying to lead on our own. Let us stop becoming obsessed with the correct ministry strategy and speaking points. Let us let Him. Let Him determine the sermon and bring who He may. Let Him guide us to our ministries. Let Him be in everything we do. Everything. The food we eat, the games we play, the attention-getting devices we use to draw the masses.
Oh, my brothers and sisters, the masses are not ours to draw. They are His.
We simply allow Him to be our head as we follow. My hand doesn’t choose to lightly tap the keys on my computer. My feet are not choosing to get up and walk to the coffee pot. My back does not straighten itself. My whole body is nothing but limp if my head does not tell it what its next move is.
As bodies of believers, we have got to be willing to allow the Father and Son and Spirit to lead. Period. As individual believers, we have got to stop trying to convince people that Jesus is better. He is. But our spreading of His name can only be effective if it is done by His moving through our limp bodies.
Through that, we can be reconciled to Him.
Reconciliation. In the Greek, this word means to change.
Yes, our spirit changes. Yes, our lives change. But what is so much more beautiful is that our relationship with God changes.
We were lost and are lost without the sacrifice of Jesus. We are void of inheritance, confused by glory, anxious, self-seeking sinners who cannot have a right relationship with God because He cannot be associated with anything less than perfect.
Jesus in all His brilliance is just what reconciles our relationship with the Father.
And though His body hung limp on that dull, rugged cross, though darkness prevailed for a few days as His being lay lifeless in a tomb, His glory flew out of the empty shell of this earth and is the most blinding brilliance this world will ever see.
It is the brilliance of the Firstborn of all creation. It is the brilliance of the one who all things were created by, through, and for. It is the brilliance that casts out anxiety, the brilliance that leads our ministries, and the brilliance that blots out our sin that we might live eternally with Jesus.
Let’ss let go.
Let’s let go of our beloved control and give in to the brilliant Savior.
I had an anxiety attack yesterday. I continually try to control my ministry. I sin against Him more than I am even aware of. And He still holds me. He will hold you. Brilliantly.