Summary: You might say we get God’s heart in our hearts. What greater encouragement could there be? And we can expect the infusion of God’s Spirit in our hearts will result in a change in how we behave toward each other. For the fruit of the Spirit is love.
1I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The Goal: Encouraged Heart (internal)
Have you ever thought about the word courage? In English “encouraged heart” is a play on words. Courage means to have heart. When you lose heart, you lose your will and ability to stand against opposition and face fears. So, in English, it’s like saying, “I pray you’ll have heart in your heart”. In Greek there is no such play on words. The word encouragement in Greek is the same root Jesus uses to refer to the Holy Spirit-the paraklete; ”If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:15-17) The word the New International Version translates as Advocate is the same root as we find in Paul’s word encouragement. The Spirit of Truth is the parakletos-the one who comes along side to help, the Helper, the Comfortor. When Paul is “contending” he is praying for the church at Colossea and Laodicea (they were neighbor cities, like Dallas & Fort Worth, or Kamanahalli and Baniswadi). Paul is asking God to give the Church His Spirit, the Spirit of encouragement-the Source for moral strength. You might say we get God’s heart in our hearts. What greater encouragement could there be? And we can expect the infusion of God’s Spirit in our hearts will result in a change in how we behave toward each other. For the fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:20).
United in Love (external)
The Bible begins with unity. God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit-Creates the universe (universe means unity from diversity). He decides to create humanity in his own image & makes Adam (man) is not good alone, so God makes Eve (mother of all living). He commands them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. God makes humanity, man and woman, to join together in physical and spiritual unity to create all subsequent humanity. The two become one, and as one, they create life together. Unity is creative. Unity gives life. Unity is powerful. God creates the first human couple, makes them one, and commands them to make more creatures in the image of God. Satan, apparently, does not like this idea-that each child born would be an addition to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Light and Good and Truth. So, satan intervenes. We all know the rest of the story. They take the fruit God had commanded they should not. God asks Adam what he has done. He blames Eve. Rather than saying “we took of the fruit and ate” Adam said “the woman you gave me tempted me and I ate”. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. God pronounces judgment on each. Division is come. Yet that’s not the end of the story. After this, Adam “knows” Eve and she becomes pregnant. He “knows” her again and she has another child. Cain and Abel are born. The children also strive with each other, and Cain murders Abel. Adam and Eve join together again as one to bring Seth into the world. Without the unity of Adam and Eve, even in their fallen state, none of us would be here. But we don’t have to be satisfied with the kind of imperfect unity Adam and Eve experienced after the Fall. Jesus is the second Adam (Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 15).
As Charles Wesley said it in his great Christmas Carol
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
God gives His Spirit for more than just comfort in the individual heart. He gives Himself to create in us the power to overcome prejudice and darkness in our own communities, to establish the kingdom of His light in the love we share among those with whom we share our homes and churches, and through us, the world. In this way we experience first hand the character of Christ.
Wisdom and Knowledge in Christ (eternal)
You can’t know Jesus without experiencing Him, and you haven’t fully experienced Him until you have lived as He did. As we experience love and unity in our relationships we understand Jesus much better—we experience Him in our daily activities. When we together are hated and rejected because of our faith in Him, we understand what it was like for Jesus, who was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 52 & 53). When He uses us as peacemakers in environs of strife, we begin to know the Prince of Peace. Where we find solutions to intractable problems, we begin to know Him in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In illness we bring healing; where lies flourish we tell the truth; for the downtrodden we stand for restoration; in times of darkness we shine the light of God’s love. In all these ways we come to know Jesus. Knowing Him this way leads us to eternal life. Until we have done these things we cannot claim to know Him.