Who am I? This is a question we often ask ourselves, particularly when we are younger and our identities are still forming. The thing is, the answer to this question changes, as life changes.
Who am I if I’m a Christian? The answer to this question includes being able to say: I am IN Christ (like the branches on this tree trunk). God is my sovereign, wise and compassionate Father. He is intimately aware of the details of my life. Christ took my sins on his shoulders to pave the way for me to enter God’s presence. God is transforming me into Christ’s image. Christ is my perfect bridegroom. The core longings of my heart for relationship are perfectly fulfilled in him (Practical Theology for Women).
This IS our identity as Christians, one that remains, despite the changes that life brings.
But grasping this truth is difficult. And we often operate like we’re a lone branch, separated from the main tree trunk, and from other Christians.
We tend to think of our walk with God as a series of ‘intersecting moments’ during the day or week. For example, when we spend time with God in the morning, or pray with a friend at lunchtime, or attend church on Sunday. What we need to realise is that our walk with Jesus is one that takes place 24-hours a day (Practical Theology for Women).
To be constantly aware of our union with Jesus takes effort. Look at these doing words: the Bible tells us to grasp, set, take hold of, train our minds to dwell on Christ. To take our thoughts captive – IN whatever situation we find ourselves – and set them on Christ and heavenly things.
This is something I have struggled to do for as long as I’ve been a Christian. What’s it like for you?
6 just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2: 6-10).
So, let’s get to our ‘COMA’ Bible study as we continue with Colossians. Last month we introduced new questions in the Observation section, the previous month some new questions in the Context section. This month – although the questions aren’t new – we focus on the Meaning section of COMA.
Start by reading the text:
Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Now go through the passage together and discuss the following:
Context – What can you learn about the person or situation to which the letter is written? What clues are there about the author and his circumstances? What was the main point of the passage immediately before this one? Are there logical or thematic connections to the passage you are reading?
Observation – Are there any major sub-sections or breaks in the text? Are there key connecting words (for, therefore, but, because) that indicate the logical flow of the passage? What is the main point or points? What supporting points does the author make? What surprises are there in the flow of the argument?
Meaning – How does the text relate to other parts of the book? How does the passage relate to Jesus? What does this teach us about God? How could we sum up the meaning of this passage in our own words?
Go through the passage a last time and discuss:
Application – How does this passage challenge (or confirm) my understanding? Is there some attitude I need to change? How does this passage call on me to change the way I live?
Set a date for next time. Pray together about what you have learnt.
Compiled by Brenda Daniels
17 I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)