Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting from Captivity to the Cross
Preacher: J. Murdock
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Lydia Svoboda
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Colossians 2:4-15 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In The Message paraphrase, Paul lays out a challenge in Verses 6-7:
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. . . . School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)
Moving from theory to practice. Moving from your heart to your head. Moving from saying to being. Moving from accepting to sharing. Moving from private to public. Moving from study to application. Each of these actions is intensely challenging. Some might be tempted to retreat into their personalities and argue that the advice is not really meant for everyone. Remember this: Paul understood that we are all gifted differently. While we all belong to the same body, each of us has a different part to play. This is not about extroverts versus introverts. It is not about those gifted with sharing versus those gifted with something else. For Paul, all of us are called to live Jesus. To live love. To love well. To be love.
A change takes place when you belong to Jesus. There is a new level of freedom that causes your love to overflow. You look at people differently. You see potential in places where previously there was no potential. You extend unwarranted grace, because is good to live in that space. You forgive faster. You forgive first with no expectation of any return. You know that living is not living unless it is free, that freedom is not determined by physical circumstances but in Jesus. That is why Paul, even in prison, is exuberant to the Colossian church. He has a joy that is deeper than the despair of his physical circumstances. So imagine today, what would it be like to love more? This is only truly possible when Jesus is driving you. All love comes from Jesus, even when you don’t realize it.
Recalibrate: Live love. Love well. Be love. Try sharing with a friend today how you have experienced the overflow of love in your life. Do you believe that you are living in the overflow?
Respond: Pray for the receptiveness to accept love today.
Research: Read 1 John 4:7-21.
Remember: “Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught. And always be thankful” (Colossians 2:7, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
You will need a balloon for today’s Daily Walk. With your little one, blow up a balloon. As you blow the balloon up, place your child’s hands on it so they can feel it growing. Before the balloon bursts, ask your child to get ready and on the count of three watch what the balloon does. One, two, three—let go of the ballon and follow it as it travels around. Do this as many times as your child is interested. As you take a well-earned breather after that activity, know that with every breath Jesus brings life and strength so love can go everywhere. Fill up on Jesus’ love for you and live that love wherever you are.
Read the Live Wonder Daily Walk and do the same thing with a balloon. Can you tell where the balloon is going to go before you let it go? It always seems to go in a different direction. Blow the balloon up and instead of letting it go, pull the top apart so a funny noise comes out. No matter what, if you do not tie the balloon, the balloon does something with what is inside. You can hold it tightly or make a knot to keep the air in, but once you do that the balloon does nothing. When Jesus is in us, it’s like the air in the balloon. Jesus moves us to places and people we never thought of. Let Jesus love fill you up, and when you feel a little flat, ask Jesus to fill you up again. Wait and then go. Have fun being the balloon!
I used to really like building unique creations with the Lego sets that I have collected over the years. While I really liked the idea of buying a brand-new box of Legos that came with instructions on how to make the picture on the front of the box, I also really loved the freeform building that came with owning the pieces that were left after I had broken down the creation. Maybe you can resonate with the same idea through games like Minecraft that allow you to take simple pieces and turn them into entire cities and landscapes.
There is just something fun about creating a new thing from scratch.
Paul uses a similar way of thinking when he talks about the idea that Christians are called not only to be followers of God, but to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” (Colossians 2:7).
Not just rooted . . . not just built . . . not just established . . . but all three!
Paul promotes the idea that we are made in the image of God, which means you can never be anything but God’s creation. Built from the ground up and original. You can’t simply find a box of all of your quirks, and personality, and mannerism, and buy it off the shelf. No. You are nothing found in an instruction manual for mass consumption. You are a masterpiece sculpted by the Master Builder!
What do you think it means to be rooted in faith? How can you figure out what your established faith is? How do you tell the difference between what is built by God and what is built by you? Or someone else? What adjustments can be made so that all of you is built up in Him?
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority” (Col. 2:9-10). The One in whom all the fullness of the Deity lives, lives in you and brings you to fullness. Every intention behind His actions toward you are for your good and for your fulfillment. He who is over every power and authority personally oversees your life with utmost care and concern. His goodness is always directed toward you.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Lydia Svoboda is a junior theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.