Colossians 2:1 I 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. (NIV)
Paul contended for the young churches under his care. He knew that the faith of those new Christians was delicate and that they could be led astray by flattering words and false gospels. He fought for them in many ways and eventually sacrificed his life for the Gospel. He was a remarkable fighter for the faith; he was a strident contender for Christ.
Sometimes I wonder how Paul would have fared with today’s Church. We seem to have wandered so far away from the Gospel Truth that I think he would stridently confront our mistakes and try to redirect our paths. Unfortunately, he would probably come across as being intolerant, out-of-touch, and imbecilic to most post-moderns. His statements would be ignored and his opinions would be cast aside, just as his written words are somewhat treated today.
I wish that God would raise up another Paul among us, instead of the ‘Guy Smiley’ preachers that abound in our mega churches. People say that they are thirsting for real, authentic Christianity, but that involves changing a lot of what we have become. If another contender does arise, then she or he will shake the foundations of our cozy beliefs and make us honestly reconsider our ways. It won’t be easy, but then again, the symbol of our faith is a sacred Cross and not a comfy sofa.
Questions for personal reflection
What do I honestly think of Paul and his teachings? Why?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You chose Paul to contend for Your Church on Earth. Help us to understand why You selected him and what his writings truly teach us about You. Help us to re-evaluate our faith and renew our commitment to You alone. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to send him an email about today’s message, send it to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s drawing is one of John’s drawings called “Christ is King.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: King.Podcast version