21 Once you were alienated from God and you were enemies with him in your minds, which was shown by your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame. 23 But you need to remain well established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard. This message has been preached throughout all creation under heaven. And I, Paul, became a servant of this good news.
As he wrote today’s reading to the Christians in Colossae, the apostle Paul expanded on his letter’s greeting. There he wrote, “You have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You previously heard about this hope through the true message, the good news, which has come to you” (Colossians 1:5-6). As they lived out this hope in a hostile Roman world, Paul urged them not to “shift away” from the course that hope set for their lives.
Lord Jesus, I could not save myself. Thank you for doing that for me. Now save me from the mistaken idea that I can sit back and do nothing. Guide me as I seek to embody the hope you’ve given me. Amen.
* N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 156.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t walk around telling people, “You need to remain well-established and rooted in faith and not shift away from the hope given in the good news that you heard!” If someone came up to me and said that, I would be really weirded out. First of all, what does it even mean to be well established and rooted in faith? And second, what good news are they even talking about?
Because I follow Jesus, I know that the good news they’re talking about is Jesus taking away all of our sins, but to be completely rooted and fixated on that all the time? That seems hard.
I hear a lot of really big before-and-after stories because of people’s fixation on the hope of God. I hear stories of people who were alcoholics and one day decided to quit and their whole life changed, or I hear of people who flew across the world and were never the same after.
These are incredible stories, but on the normal Tuesday, most of us aren’t going to have huge, dramatic life shifts. Most days we will just have a tiny, little shift towards wholeness and hope – and I think that is okay. I think that is what God means when He says He wants us to shift towards the hope He gives us.
Even if people don’t walk around telling us to “remain well-established and rooted in faith” all day, we can still remember to move towards hope. I encourage you to take a little step towards hope today, whatever that looks like for you. I’m not talking about some cataclysmic change - just a mini step towards hope. I’ll do it with you.
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