Friday, 19 September 2014
Colossians 3:1-4 Review: I’m with Him
You say I’ve died and been raised with Christ?
Then what’s the point? Does anything matter?
That’s what several ladies expressed–and many of us think–when we hear these twin truths from Colossians 3:1-4. There’s my life with its earthly messes. Then there’s heaven where everything’s perfect. The gap between the two feels huge:
- The toddler wakes up too early from his nap, interrupting my afternoon “work from home” session. Either the report will be late or I’m going to pull another late night.
- The doorbell wakes us from a sound sleep. My husband forgot to set his alarm and now his carpool is here, expecting him to walk out the door.
- My three children are all screaming at once and I feel like I’m going to scream too. I left the room to count to 10 (or 100) and they’re banging on the door.
What does it mean right now that I have died with Christ? That I have been raised with Christ? That my life is hidden with Christ in God? That someday I will appear with Christ in glory?
Is this escapism? An invitation to check out mentally, like Calgon Bath Bubbles? Is this a reality check? That I should just ignore my crying toddler or the doorbell alarm because heaven is more real than they are? Is this a mind game? Do I have to live in two worlds at once, never really feeling part of either?
It’s none of these. Instead it’s these three truths:
The truth about what’s in front of me. The fact is “earthly” isn’t referring to the screaming toddler in front of me. Or my boss and his unrealistic deadlines. Paul defines earthly in the next few verses, Colossians 3:5-9. He’s talking about sin. The kind of sin that happens when I respond badly to stressful situations. And the kind I initiate when I’m in the grip of a sinful craving. Quite frankly both kinds of sin are lurking at the door when my life gets messy.
That’s when Paul’s words help. Seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I can run to my Savior right now. He sits in the place of victory, ready to give me all I need at this very moment.
The truth about my life. In the moments of mess and mayhem it’s good to know that my life is not defined by my present circumstances. I tend to think it is. I go from the three howling children in front of me to the thought, “I’m the woman who can’t handle her kids. I’m that mom! The one I used to look at and say I’ll never be like her!” Then waves of guilt swamp me right at the time I need a quiet heart.
That’s when Paul’s words help. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. The old me is dead. I’m not defined by my past failures or by my repeated attempts to be a better mom (or wife or student or employee). I am alive to God now. I’m with Christ. In fact, I’m hiding with him. I can whisper my need to him in that hidden place and receive his immediate help.
The truth about who I’m with. The worst thing about messy moments is that I often feel very alone. Where’s that husband of mine when I need him…I think when the dishwasher overflows or the car won’t start. What was that professor thinking when he had three papers due in a week…I complain at 3 am in front of my computer. I can’t do this…I wail as the baby’s colicky cries grow louder.
That’s when Paul’s words help. If then you have been raised with Christ… You see, I’m not alone, not for one minute. I’m with Him! I died with him. I was raised with him. My life is hidden with him. I will be revealed with him someday. He. Is. My. Life.
Right now, in the middle of the mess.