Do you ever have weeks where things get so heavy, painful, or discouraging that you find yourself saying, “If I can just make it till ———— everything will be alright”? It may be a stretch of serious work travel, or an upcoming meeting that I am dreading. I may think, “I’ll be able to thrive, have joy, or enjoy life more after . . . .”

I’ve been praying for friends across the country who are experiencing deep hardships. I’m often caught up with emotion for the burdens they bear. Jesus’ disciples must have felt similar emotions. When Jesus was about to depart this earth, He directed the eyes and expectations of His disciples to another Counselorthe Holy Spirit.

What is the long-term goal for our lives? Ultimately, God is in the business of renovating us—remaking us in the image of God. Humankind was created that way and He plans to recreate us through the work of the Gospel.
 

Paul’s passion was to see the Gospel made known in its fullness. Then, as now, people often missed its full effect. His letter to the Colossians reveals this in wonderful ways. Here and in my next post, I want to discuss two life-giving aspects of the full Gospel Paul expected to see at work in his readers’ lives. 

Religious people from the beginning of time have sought God, read holy writings, but often missed God in the process. They often heard the story, but missed the wonder! One of Jesus’ interactions with the religious leaders of His day illustrates the point.

Is God’s blessing seen in financial affluence? In marriage? In having children? A good job? Think again.

Just as a surgeon, master plumber, or carpenter has instruments and assistants he utilizes to accomplish his work with expertise, so God has instruments and partners that He works with in raising up disciples.

What would life be like if we truly believed what we read about Jesus in Colossians?

A number of years ago, a friend of mine and I began climbing Pike’s Peak in Colorado each year, up the Barr Trail. It’s a 26-mile round trip trek. Well before the water station, as I drank from my Camelbak water tube, I heard that sickening sound … only air … the water was gone. Bummer.

I find that most of us read the Parable of the Two Sons in Luke 15 through the filter of years of tradition rather than good interpretation. The clincher of the story comes when Jesus tells the response of the older son to the father’s gracious receiving back of the younger brother! The main message? Missed grace!