“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority. “ (Colossians 2:8-9)
“You have been made complete” what a wonderful concept, to know that in and through Christ’s indwelling we have been made complete. God supplies all we need to become what He intended for us to be. It’s all wrapped up in the person of Christ in us, living His life through us. By resting and trusting in the living Christ we have abundant joy and peace.
What a great design for living. God, in His wisdom, removes all the “performance based acceptance” obstacles in our path to Him, and replaces it with His very life living within us. We don’t have to strive to measure up to some religious standard, we just live in obedience to the Spirit of Christ within us.
Even though this is to be the normal Christian life, many of us are guilty of living in and out of this joy, rather than abiding in Him. There are many distractions along the way that hinder this trust in Christ. I want to address three particular areas of struggle that most often rob us of our joy and peace.
Webster’s dictionary defines rebellion as: “the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention”.
The Scripture calls rebellion a sin because it is a deliberate refusal to do what you know is the will of God. It is a willful choice not to obey His authority. It is a choice to do what we want to do regardless of what we know God has said.
When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something and we ignore His prompting, then that becomes rebellion. When we know the Scripture has clearly commanded us to do or be something and we willfully ignore it, then we are acting in rebellion.
King Saul acted in rebellion when he willfully disobeyed God by presenting a sacrifice on his own, rather than waiting on Samuel. When Samuel the prophet confronted him he told Saul that “behold to obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s obedience is always for our good and to help us live in the fullness of joy and peace.
A double-minded person is a fence sitter. They are like a politician who waits to see which way the political wind is blowing before he takes a stand. A double-minded person often wants to hear what God has to say, but wants to wait before he decides whether he will obey. James tells us that a double-minded person is “unstable in all of his ways.” (James 1:8).
As a committed follower of Christ our only option is to trust God completely. We are to completely give our life to Him without reservation, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We must trust Him for whatever comes our way now and in the future. We must live like Joshua of old who said to the unbelieving crowd of Israelites, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Pretense is an act of giving a false appearance or masquerading to be someone you are not. It is attempting to display qualities that you do not have. It is trying to be spiritual when indeed you are struggling with trying to measure up. It is being a hypocrite.
Jesus said, “These people draw near with their words and honor me with their lip service, but their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for Me consist of tradition learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13)
I think most believers who are pretentious do not intend on being that way, they are just attempting to measure up to a perceived standard for acceptance. To them, doing things for God is their way of attempting to please Him. Their thinking is if I do enough good works, then God will love me. Their concept of God is closely aligned with someone who felt they never measured up to their earthly father’s acceptance. So they carried over the “doing good things for dad so he will love me attitude.” They have yet to discover Christ as their very life.
Pretense is about attempting to mimic what God has already provided through Christ. Because of Christ in us, we no longer have to attempt to measure up, because we already measure up in Christ. Because of the resurrection we are one with Him and the Father (John 17). Our goal is not to try to measure up so we can get God’s favor, but our goal is to now rest. We are to rest in the promise that the Father accepts us because we are now in Christ.
Instead of doing so I can be, I now am being so that I can do. We don’t have to live a pretense but we can rest in the truth that Christ in me is enough. We now live to allow Christ to live His life through us, and as a result, we will do the will of the Father.
Rebellion, double-mindedness and pretense will rob us of our spiritual birthright. God has provided all that we need in the person of Christ within us. Embrace the Cross by humbling yourself, and giving up on self-centeredness, and receive the gift of Christ’s life in you…as enough.
“Without him we can do nothing.” (John 15:5)