Summary: Today, let’s look at the motivation for gratefulness Paul lists: the Colossians’ faith and love, which are both based on their hope in the truth of the Good News. Today, we’ll focus on FAITH
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you.
Faith, Love, Hope & Truth of the Good News
Again, Paul refers to what he is always doing-thanksgiving & prayer. We’ve talked about both previously. Today, let’s look at the motivation for gratefulness Paul lists: the Colossians’ faith and love, which are both based on their hope in the truth of the Good News. Today, we’ll focus on FAITH
Faith- have you thought much about faith lately? I think most believers think of themselves as people of faith-after all, the Greek word for faith (pistos) is often translated as belief; a believer is, by definition, a person of faith. There may be many ways to talk about faith-first let’s talk about what faith is not.
Faith is not our ticket to get whatever we want. God is not the big Santa Clause in the Sky with gifts he brings for the nice children. He is God. He is the Almighty-the Creator and Ruler of the universe; the Sovereign-He is the Object of our faith because He deserves our trust. He is not our slave just waiting to do our biding-it is just the other way around. We are His willing slaves to do His bidding. Our faith does not supersede this fundamental relationship; it is an expression of it.
Faith is not a magic mantra for accomplishing our purposes. You want good health, blessed relationships, wealth and happiness? Obey the Lord in all things and these are likely outcomes. But imprisonment, suffering, and persecution are also likely outcomes. Our Lord was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53). God does not promise to make our lives everything we’d dreamed they’d be. He has, instead, promised to be with us, even to the end of the world, into the fiery furnace, or to the victorious end of the contest, to the greatest heights of fame and the lowest depths of infamy-He is there. If we have Him we have everything, even if we lose everything in this world.
Faith is not a denial of reality; it is the acknowledgment of a higher reality. You can say “I don’t have a cold” or “I don’t have cancer” all you like, but it will not change the reality around or within you unless our LORD says so. He is the One who will decide what is and what isn’t. Our faith is in Him, not in our faith.
Faith is not a bully club with which to pummel a believer who is suffering. I have been with well meaning fools who condemn a man who is suffering from cancer, or a woman who is going through a painful divorce, actually saying if they had faith they would overcome these circumstances. Such cruelty has no place in the kingdom of God and is a shame to the person who thinks himself a godly counselor-this is the council of Job’s friends. God condemned Job’s counselors and warned them of His judgment, and He would do the same for similar counselors today.
Faith is trusting the One who made us to finish the work He has begun. Faith is seeing that when the darkest storm turns day into night the sun is still there, shining, warming our future. Faith is the settled peaceful knowledge that all things work together to the good for those who love God, the called according to His purposes.
Faith is the certainty that my life is in His hands and I am indestructible until He calls me home. Faith is the means by which we know God, for knowledge of God is impossible without revelation, and revelation is possible only through faith. Faith is the calm assurance that my life can make a positive difference in this world, that God will make a way, that I need not trust in any human source for help, that bribery is a fool’s strategy because it is God who determines the outcome, that elections and famous celebrities, and wars and diseases will come and go, but our LORD and His love will abide forever. Faith sees the world as it is, and as it should be, and works tirelessly to change it from darkness to light.
The Colossians knew what faith was. This made Paul happy. So he constantly thanked God.
What makes you happy?
Thank God for that today. Send up a little prayer of gratefulness for this precious gift of faith that makes all things possible.