By Ryan Shaw
In Colossians 1:13-23 we are given a vital and excellent description of the great God-Man, the Redeemer and Lord of all, Christ Jesus! This description should be meditated upon and prayed regularly as it depicts the absolute superiority and supremacy of Jesus as God.
Tucked into these marvelous verses is a crucial portion of verse 16. “All things were created through Him and for Him.”
It is important to understand that following Jesus isn’t meant to be an add-on to our lives. We often understand “religion” in this way in our compartmentalized world.
Religion is a person’s search for God by earning salvation through what we do. We seek to climb a ladder to God and meet Him on the top rung through our own worthiness. The only problem is that no one is worthy enough. All honest and sincere seekers inevitably come to this conclusion.
The only way to get to God is for God to come to us, in incarnation. Instead of us trying to be worthy and climbing to Him, He comes to us and meets us at the bottom rung as sinners.
The true experience of this is meant to produce a whole life surrendered to Him in gratitude for what has been received. It is a “gift” from Him and now we belong forever to the “giver.” Not merely an add-on, but the surrender of our all to the One whom our very existence is for.
Everything about us and the world itself was brought into being for the sole purpose of functioning in obedience and self-surrender to the eternal purposes of Jesus and His Kingdom. Our bodies, relationships, emotions, finances, choices and careers do not exist merely for our own well-being.
Many fail in their spiritual lives because they have not yet submitted to this fact. Many give up on following Jesus because they possess the deceptive mindset that God exists for them. They are left disillusioned because this lie has not met the deepest needs of their hearts.
We exist for one purpose – His glory! The thrill for us is that living this way brings the greatest satisfaction possible to the human heart. It is not a burdensome life, though not for the faint of heart.
The difficulty of living for the glory of Jesus is not nearly as hard as it is for those who choose the alternative. This includes those who follow Jesus superficially as well as those who have outright rejected Christ.
The reason is that the very fabric of the universe itself has been created to honor and glorify Christ. This is also true of us as human beings. Everything about our human bodies, emotions and minds was created to function at the highest levels when living free from the bondage of sin and its poison in our lives.
Secular doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists agree that around 60% of all physical and mental problems human beings experience can be traced to issues that separate us from one another, from ourselves and from God.
These include fears, resentments, bitterness, self-centeredness, guilt, jealousy, envy, immorality, idolatry and an overall exalting of “self” above God and His glory in Christ.
We were not created to be bogged down with such issues, but free, rightly relating to God in obedience to His purposes. Such freedom positively affects our overall well-being.
The whole world (every culture, ethnic background and religious orientation) is under the sway of the same problem and there is only one answer.
Every person on the face of the planet has an innate desire to know this God. It is wired into our human fabric to live in true fellowship with Him. It is unnatural to resist Him, producing great anguish and hardship in and through the life that does so.
This is what we seek to change in the work of cross-cultural ministry. We seek to help those living for self align with the life they were meant to live. We help them break free of the previous mindsets, living for themselves instead of for the glory and purpose of Jesus Christ.
Want to be inspired through more of Ryan’s writings – order Waking The Giant: The Resurging Student Mission Movement