As with the church in Corinth, Colossae also has a problem with false teachers. Some who are stirring things up there hold to particular traditions, beliefs that have caused many to stumble. They have an “A list” of rules and regulations. They also proclaim their “great accomplishments,” but Paul says, “We preach Christ Jesus as Lord.” (2 Corinthians 4:5) As we have seen before, Paul can “lay down the message” when necessary. He is an equal opportunity deliverer of challenging messages. The Colossians need to hear his admonition to stay away from the false teachers and their teachings (Colossians 1:28-2:3).
One of the ways that we learn, grow and are able to discern between that which is true and that which is not is through intensive study of the Word of God. We need to commit ourselves to good study habits, so that we will grow and have a proper balance for our lives. We must not forget that in the Word of God is found the power of God. The Bible is “living and active”...in it are the words of life (Hebrews 4:12). The Holy Spirit brings these words to life in our hearts for the sustaining of our spirits and souls. (Ephesians 6:17)
There are four evidences of spiritual maturity revealed here that help us on our spiritual journey. The first evidence is – encouragement. This literally means “with heart.” We Christians face a lot of frustration from the world system, not to mention the circumstances of life. We are able to draw strength from each other during our times of stress and crisis. This is why we come together in fellowship. By encouraging others...particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ...we “give them a new heart.” Genuine encouragement brings out the best in others…we need to seek ways to do this. The second evidence of maturity is – endearment. This literally means “to be knit together in love.” The more time that we are able to spend together, the more time that we are able to serve and build relationships…the more we endear ourselves to one another. We must not forget that every one of us is a part of the spiritual unity of the church. There is not one part that is more significant or less important than any other. Do we have different roles? Yes. Each of them are valuable. Each of us needs to do our part to build the whole...the body of Christ. The third evidence of spiritual maturity is – enrichment. Too many Christians live like spiritual beggars when they should be living like kings. There are no greater riches than spiritual riches. When we commit ourselves to the Lord and His ways, he makes us rich in the ways that really matter. The final “e” is – enlightenment. When we commit our hearts and minds to study and fellowship, the Lord illuminates us spiritually...He provides guidance, direction for our lives. We become a city on a hill that shines forth for Christ, and we have blessed assurance in our hearts that we are children of God. When we make these principles the priority in our lives, we are effectively going to “press on.” Finally, we must join all of these matters together in prayer. Paul strives in prayer for the Colossians like a warrior. It is not just a habit…it is his passion.
To produce one tablespoon of honey, say for one of my wife’s delicious rolls, a typical honey bee makes 4200 trips to flowers. It makes about 10 trips per day to the fields…each trip lasting 20 minutes on average and 400 flowers. To produce a pound of honey, a bee must visit 56,000 clover heads. Since each head has 60 flower tubes, a total of 3,360,000 visits are necessary. Meanwhile, this working bee has flown the equivalent of three times around the world or 36,000 miles. On top of all of this, the bee will fly as far as 8 miles if it cannot find a nectar flow that is nearer. And we think we have a long drive to work. Talk about the ability to press on!
Paul challenges the Colossians to be passionate about life...to work hard...to be a blessing. How are we doing? When we examine ourselves, are we more involved in building-up the body or tearing it down? Are we endearing ourselves to those around us? Are we becoming spiritually enriched through serious Bible study, prayer and fellowship, or have we become spiritually poor and needy? If we are striving in our Christian walk...pressing on toward the goal...we cannot allow sin or self to cloud our love for one another or our passion for life. So, let us edify, magnify and glorify the Lord, and press on!