Scripture: For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5 ESV
Observation: In this second chapter, Paul first expresses his desire to see the Colossians “knit together in love” and mature in their understanding of God’s salvation plan in Christ. Why? So that they will not be duped by “plausible arguments” that are antithetical to our Gospel. For this reason, Paul characterizes church members as disciplined soldiers in Christ’s army, using military terms to describe the Colossian’s sure foundation in Christ. In particular, the ancient Greek word for “order” (taxin) pertained to an orderly array of a band of disciplined soldiers. And the word translated “firm” (stereōma) referred to solidity and compactness.
Takeaway: Having noted that some reading his letter had not met him (2:1), Paul contends that he is present with them in spirit (2:5 above). This supernatural oneness of mind and heart brings joy to Paul, for he can see in his mind’s eye how this young church is maintaining “good order” and a “firm” faith in Christ.
So how did Paul foster such an immediate sense of connectedness with those he never met? Chapter 1 provides the answer: he and his team had ongoingly prayed for the Colossians, “asking that [they] may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (1:9b-10). In the same way, the Holy Spirit mysteriously binds us together through our prayers for one another. And, like Paul, when we persevere in our petitions for fellow believers and learn of their progress, we will rejoice as kindred spirits.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who has reconciled the church to himself as one body. And we thank you for your Holy Spirit who matures and unites us in our faith. Would you please help us persevere in prayer as kindred spirits of Christ, sharing in the joy of each other’s successes? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling