Seeing in the Dark
Read This Week: Colossians 1
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. – Colossians 1:9-10, 15-17 NIV
The loss of vision can be unsettling, and at times, completely frightening. The ability to see is a human faculty and sense that we often take for granted until it is gone or impaired. When our sight is diminished or taken away, our confidence gets shaken, our path becomes uncertain and our bearings get lost.
However, faith and knowledge are great equalizers when we can’t see. When we’re in a room that is completely dark, but we know what is there, we have the confidence to walk through that space undeterred. When someone who is blind knows and trusts their guide, they are able to move forward along the path with belief in the person directing their steps.
Faith in and knowledge of what is true lessens the anxiety that occurs in us when we lose our sight. In Colossians chapter 1, Paul has just prayed for his friends that God would give them “the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” He then tells them that they can live a life that “bears fruit in every good work” because of the example and relationship with Jesus.
Paul tells the Colossians and communicates to us that Jesus is what we need to be able to see in the dark. He is the “image of the invisible God”, and supreme over all things seen and unseen. We can trust Him when our sight is limited or restricted in life and we don’t have a vision beyond our circumstances. We can follow His lead through any situation, challenge or relationship because of his supreme power available to us through the cross. The observance of his example and the knowledge of his authority and capacity, not only allows us to navigate through times when we can’t see but to thrive and be successful in spite of them.
When our hearts waver and our emotions deceive us, we must remember and correspond to the truth of who Christ is and who He is to us. He is infinitely supreme and “in Him, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.”
Contained in this truth of Jesus is the ability to live the life God desires for us. Knowing this about our Savior and what is available through a relationship with Him supplies wisdom and awakens love and restores faith and inspires goodness and provides assurance. It incites joy and garners admiration and gives peace and recaptures the wonder that can often be lost in the intensity of the struggle.
When we remember and know this about God and His Son, Jesus Christ and that His Spirit lives in us, we can overcome and do anything. There is no mountain too high; no valley too treacherous. There is no bill too costly; no job too stressful; no family issue too egregious. There is no relationship too complicated; no Monday too hard; and no future too uncertain.
This is how we experience a fulfilling life or come to know our complete self. This is how we see in the dark. This is our hope. It is a person and his name is Jesus.
Darkness. It is such an accurate metaphor for our uncertainty in what lies ahead. This passage reminds me of a conversation I had this past week with a close friend of mine. We were discussing freewill versus God’s sovereign will. In this discussion, we mentioned how the two can work together in life to create our journey. It is extremely relevant to how I have seen my choices direct my life in a way that ultimately revealed God’s will.
Within my own life, I look back to a year in the past. This faith Paul talks about in Colossians 1, a faith fueled by confidence in God’s plan, is what I was equipped with. Every part of my life seemed to have an achievable end goal, whether it was a proposal, promotion, or building roots. I believed my decision making was what the Lord’s plan was. It was revealed to me that I was extremely mistaken. Yet, God had a purpose behind all of it.
At this point in time, I cannot say I have found that “light” I thought I had one year ago. If anything, uncertainty of what the future holds or “darkness” is what I feel more of. A big part of this is still trying to recover from what I thought was a certain future. However, a bigger piece to the puzzle is how new certain things are in my life.
With newness, I feel like this passage can correlate in how I can approach patience and confidence. Like the text says, “in him, all things hold together”, even in times we lack the knowledge of His will. I may have a lot of new people and responsibilities to get accustomed to, but God will remain constant. Through Him, I will be alright no matter what unfolds. My confidence can remain high knowing He will be with me on a forever changing journey. I must be confident in knowing the future will reveal what God has intended for that time of my life. It is important for me to pray for comfort and for confidence in God’s will versus my wants. Only through Him will we receive light in the darkest of valleys.
I really appreciate your comment, Brecken and can relate to it on a personal and existential level. Thank you for your willingness to be open and share.
I agree that the ideas regarding “God’s will” and “God’s plan” are very interesting and often confusing to the believer and non-believer alike. In the New Testament, God’s will means “the glory of God” which implies that God’s will is for us to bring glory to HIm in whatever we do. With the Holy Spirit’s power, we have the ability to glorify God in whatever job we have, wherever we live and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. God’s plan is the path we choose (free will) with the wisdom and Holy Spirit guidance that ultimately brings glory to God.
I loved this statement: “This faith Paul talks about in Colossians 1, a faith fueled by confidence in God’s plan, is what I was equipped with. Every part of my life seemed to have an achievable end goal, whether it was a proposal, promotion, or building roots. I believed my decision making was what the Lord’s plan was. It was revealed to me that I was extremely mistaken. Yet, God had a purpose behind all of it.”
You beautifully illustrated how God’s sovereignty covers us and is at work in our lives even when our decision making is flawed or simply a result of us just trying things and failing. He always comes through and if we’re willing, helps us get back on track. He is supreme and just and good and He guides us even when we can’t see. Even in our diverted path, God can get glory in and through our lives.
It is so important that we get inspired by the Holy Spirit and our Christian family. Getting to know God in the family of God is now, my life and it is what sustains and truly fulfills me.
No matter what you are going through, God is with you, you never have to be alone and He is there to help you, you don’t have to do it alone and God has given you a family, people to do life with. It’s one of the biggest benefits we have as Christians.
I’d like to submit to you for your judgment what I hear God saying to me about this subject. “I love you” God says, “and I am always with you to help you and give you a fulfilled life. Don’t forget about our family. I have given you a family, a family to serve and to be served.”
I’d like to encourage and inspire you today to get to know Jesus more and more, to grow as a Christian by reading the Bible and sharing it with others and to commit your life to a family of God, so that you can give and receive. These are some of the greatest things that you can do to have a fulfilling life.
I agree, Ken. I think we can forsake so much of what God gives us out of His grace when we don’t partake in the Christian community or the family of God. In fact, I think speaking through and using others is a powerful way that God steers, encourages and touches us when we can’t see or when we face uncertainty in our lives.
It is a shame when we don’t take advantage of or tap into this gift of community He gives us. I know I’ve been guilty of that in my own life. God displays his supremacy in the Body of Christ and I don’t want to forsake that benefit on my journey. Thank you for the reminder of His goodness to us through others.
I really like this comment, Ken. This reminds me of how my father taught me to build a routine for the Lord, just like schoolwork and team practices, while I was growing up. Dad told me about his routine of reading a devotion every morning before work. Reading a lesson before a long workday calms his nerves and rewires his mind so during all the stress, he can remember God is teaching us something new every day.
I started to work this into my day to day life and it pays dividends. A devotion and prayer to start the day create an upbeat mood and positive outlook for myself as well. It spreads to who I interact with. Having mutual joy in glorifying God is an endless flow of energy that will never get old. I love having support in my spiritual family during good and bad times, as these peers remind me of God’s purpose through it all.
Today at men’s lunch we were discussing Colossians 1. And God drew my attention to verse 14, “In whom we have our redemption through His blood, which means the forgiveness of our sins” and he was saying to me that as a Father, I gave you the greatest gift I could. My Son the first born I sent Him to be the sacrificial lamb to rid you of your sin’s. And to give you everlasting life with me. To spread my love with all of you so that you can spread it to others. And with the hope that they will share His love.
And what that means to me is that everyday first we must give thanks to the Father and The Son. For such a great sacrifice And the life, we have as Christians. And to always share the love he has for us with others. I call it my duty because the forgiveness and love and peace He has given me. It would be selfish for me not to share it with others.
I really like the verse you point out to us, Sam. Sharing such a bountiful love with our peers is very important. Like I touched on before, interacting with others in such a way to supplement spiritual growth results in positive energy. I also agree with calling it a duty. We would not be God’s disciples if we did not try to educate those around us about the Bible and God’s love.
So true, Brecken. We would not be His true disciples if we did not share His word, love, and kindness and surround ourselves with the people that he has chosen for us. We should also withdraw from those that are not receiving him and trying to knock us off track.
I guess the thing that stands out to me in this chapter is verses 19-20, and that whole section dealing with reconciliation. Jesus makes it possible for us to be whole and to become clean, when through our own power we surely would not be able to do anything.
Jesus is saying: Trust in me and keep going forward in the paths I lead you, I make you clean so you can do my work. Be open so I can speak and work through you.
I love that section too, Rick. It reminds me of what Paul also said to the Philippians in chapter 2 verse 30: “because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.”
In His supremacy and through his suffering on the cross, Christ makes it possible for us to not only endure our challenges and hard times but as you referenced, to overcome it and thrive in our service to Him. The sufferings and power of Christ make up for what we lack and what we cannot generate on our own.
This is an encouraging and exciting truth especially since we navigate so many challenges in life and times when we can’t see but still must follow and serve Jesus. He gives us the strength and makes up for what we lack. I’m thankful for that.
Good to hear God through you Rick. I once was lost and now I am found. It was just me responding to God’s gift of love and life with Him and the family of God. I am so grateful for my life with Christ and God’s family. I really appreciate you Rick and all that God does through you.
I hear God saying, “Rick, you are a big part of my reconciliation process, as you reach out to others with Me.”
God put on my heart that it is important to be faithful to Him first, then to the people, He puts in our lives. The Lord is faithful to us. The day we stand before Him we look forward to Jesus saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Everything we do, we do it for God. Being faithful, reliable, trustworthy, loyal and established is very important to God. The best example of faithfulness is God himself. He can be trusted. Paul was very faithful to God and the people God put in his life. He loved them and cared for them for God. He was so faithful that if he couldn’t be there he would find someone he trusted to help the people to know God’s will and to help them to grow in God’s ways, not the world’s ways.
I love how Paul would pray for them. He prayed that they would know God’s intention. I believe he was excited to see the love they had for God and the people God put in their lives too! He said for that reason they continued to pray and make special requests for them, (asking) God not telling God what to do.
I too pray for all of you just like Paul prayed. I pray you would “desire to know God’s will in everything you do. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you to understand God’s purposes in Jesus. That you would be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom (in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things – That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily GROWING and increasing in and by the knowledge of God ( with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition). (We pray) meaning Jesus is praying for you too.” John 17:6-19 says “that you may be invigorated (excited) and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, (to exercise)
every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made you and I fit to share the portion which in the inheritance of the saints ( God’s holy people) in the light.”
When you care for others, that’s all part of God’s work. The only thing in life that will last is what you do for God and the family of God! So learn, desire to to be a faithful servant to God and He will never disappoint you. It’s all up to you what you do for Jesus! Learn to be faithful every day to God first. Make a difference in someone’s life every day with God.
He loves you and wants to use you for His glory.
I appreciate your reminder of God’s faithfulness and our responsibility to be faithful to Him and those that He has placed in our lives. Your statement: “It is important to be faithful to Him first, then to the people he puts in our lives,” really stuck out to me.
That assertion caught my attention because I think we are tempted to be faithful to others and seek their help or needs before that of God’s. We tend to put the cart before the horse so to speak. Christ is supreme, not other people and He gives us the power and ability to be faithful to those he puts in our path if we will seek Him first.
Thank you for pointing us to that truth. It’s encouraging.
In Colossians 1 verse 11, “patience and long-suffering” are closely related and refer to the attitude one has during trials. “Patience” looks more at enduring difficult circumstances and persevering through problems, trials, and tribulations.
It is the power of God within which strengthens the inner man. The power of the Holy spirit within produces patience, long-suffering, and joyfulness.
I love your insight on the text. Having patience during difficult times is very tough, but also rewarding when it is all said and done. Faith in God’s plan for us ultimately reveals lessons after a period of time. Are there any particular times in your life where patience was very difficult but it gave you beneficial takeaways?
Today, while I was at church, I asked God to help me with a song. And this is what He gave me:
We are Worthy
We are worthy of the Lord, we are worthy of the Lord
We are worthy of you, our Lord,
Pleasing and desiring you
Walking through life with you
Sharing your love, mercy, and grace
Bearing your fruit, bearing your fruit
Bearing your wonderful fruit
Growing and learning
Filling us up, growing and learning
We are worthy of you, we are worthy of you
We are worthy of you, our Lord
When we are worthy and listen to the Lord, our lives are so much more meaningful. He can fill us up with the things we need. We are his true blessing. Thank you, Lord, for everything you do.
Thank you, Alma. Your comment reminded me of Revelation 5:12-13, where it says, “In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy, is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!’”
I also thought about the lyrics to a worship song called “Worthy of Your Name” that I came to love last year. It is about the worthiness of the name of Jesus and the glory He should receive from us and our lives. Part of it goes like this:
No ear had heard, no eye had seen
The Image of the Father
Until heaven came to live with me
A rescue like no other
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
You’re my helper, my healer
My blessed Redeemer
My answer, my saving grace
You’re my hope, in the shadows
My strength, in the battle
My anchor, for all my days
And You stand, by my side
And You stood, in my place
Jesus, no other name
No, only Jesus, no other name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name