Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:4-5
It is a common motivational strategy to present people with high goals knowing, at least subconsciously, they will strive to obtain those goals. Also effective as a motivational strategy is the thought that an authority figure will check up on you.
Paul somehow combines the positive and negative reinforcers in one sentence. He does this throughout the book of Philemon, too; but that is another blog post.
The church at this time is being faced with deception. Paul will begin to attack this threat with the truth. He will remind them of who they are in Christ and what it means to be a Christian.
For some reason, we don’t like being reminded. “I know that, already,” people will tell you when you encourage them with the word. Just the other Sunday, one of the students let me know that they’ve “already heard” the lesson twice. Ah. But the Bible is not Lord of the Rings. Sure you can read it a few times, maybe. But there is nothing life-altering or inspiring that comes out of that or the Hardy Boys or any other book.
Being unteachable is no new problem. Peter also faced resistance and devoted quite a bit of time in his letters to correct some things and to remind the church about those who teach false doctrine. In fact he writes:
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 1 Peter 1:12
I love how Paul reassures the church that he is thinking about them by bringing up the words of Jesus:
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20b
Paul thanks God and rejoices that the church in Colosse will be just as he expects: in good order and steadfast in their faith. Perhaps this is how we should encourage those around us, especially if we worry they will be deceived?
Questions for Further Thought:
- What is your impression of this passage?
- Have you been deceived? Have you tried to correct a brother or sister?
- How does that change your outlook?
- Verses to Look Up
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.