Colossians Devotional | The Study and Love of Christ
Colossians: Christ Above and Before All
The Glory of God Revealed in Jesus
The Study and Love of Christ
“8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” - (Colossians 2:8)
We live in an era of Christianity (at least, the American brand of it) that has seemed to cast doubtful aspersions on the doctrines of the Bible--a practice called theology. Learning the deep things and the deep truths of God’s Word has often been seen as “nitpicking,” “navel-gazing,” and “religious nerdery.” Many have come to see the pursuit of theology as either an un-loving, impractical endeavor for religious bullies (and I can’t argue that many religious bullies have used it for just that purpose), or as a studious way to avoid doing the “real work” of just loving on people like Jesus did.
To the Apostle Paul, theology really mattered. The attack the Colossians faced was a theological one. Lies about who Jesus is and what Jesus commands were being spread. In this case, the best way to love the Colossians, according to Paul, was to root them securely in basic theology.
This is why the entirety of the first chapter of this book is a theological thesis on who Christ is and what he’s done. This is also why the rest of the Colossians letter is interwoven with theology that leads its readers back to Jesus. Of all things, Paul wants the Colossians to love God and love people in God’s ways.
What many fail to understand is that, if you want to love God--I mean, really love him the way he wants to be loved--you have to know him. We’re all on a journey of learning about God and we’re all on a journey of learning how to love him. I don’t mean to imply that if you aren’t an expert in theology now then you really can’t or don’t love God. But, if you want to grow in your love for God, you’re going to need to grow in your knowledge of him--that’s the pursuit of theology. Just ask my own wife--the better I understand her, the way she thinks, what she likes, what she’s into, the more capable I am of showing her the kind of love that truly resonates with her.
And, if you want to “love on people,” then you need to learn theology because it points you to Christ’s sort of love. It shows you the manner in which Jesus “loved on people.” That means learning how Jesus used kindness, generosity, patience, and soft words. It also means learning how Jesus used correction, rebuke, and hard words.
In the end, any purpose in learning theology other than loving Jesus and loving people the way he does is, at best, futile and at worst, selfish and bullying. Paul wants us to know the truth--the truth, “according to Christ,” and none else.
A lot of people never really take theological learning seriously because they think it’s just for pastors or “folks who are good at reading.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Go back and read Colossians 1 today and begin learning the theology of Christ. Knowing and understanding the truths found in that first chapter is a really good starting place for your theological training.
You’ll need God’s power and help--pray and ask him today to give you a mind to understand him and a heart to love him. Ask the Lord, as well as your church leaders, to help you learn the truths of God.