See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
– Colossians 2:8-10
This whole parenting thing has left Kelly and I both feeling thoroughly inadequate. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how much energy – emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual – it takes to care for a tiny human.
Maybe your thing isn’t parenting at the moment, but I know there are many of you reading that are coming into this new week feeling that kind of inadequacy. You had an exhausting weekend dealing with family stuff that you didn’t want to have to ever deal with. You’re waking up and heading to work with dread, unsure if you’ll make it through the next 8 hours. You feel trapped in a hole of depression and anxiety and feel utterly out of energy to fight.
Whatever it is that has you feeling small and unable to cope this morning, Colossians 2 has important truth for you. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colossae to remind them of the truth of the Gospel and to exhort them to not get caught up again in worldly thinking – i.e. the “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition” mentioned in the verses above. His remedy to this worldly kind of thinking is a strange one. He declares, “in [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
Christ the fullness
“In Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”. If you’re a Christian, you probably get this statement on some level. Or do you? Have you thought on the massiveness of what Paul is saying here? God – infinite, eternal, omnipotent – somehow got packed inside a body and became a man by the name of Jesus.
When you encounter Jesus you’re not encountering some small portion of God. No, in him the entirety of God resides without limits. That’s amazing. But it gets even more crazy.
Filled in Him
Paul could have stopped and built his argument against worldly thinking simply on the fact that God had become flesh in Christ, but he doesn’t. Instead he goes on and makes what is, in many ways, an even more audacious and wild statement when he writes, “and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
Catch that? Paul just said that the same Jesus in whom the fullness of God has residence has filled you. You, my friend, have the fullness of God filling you. The one who has all rule and authority and power, the one of whom the angels and elders and all creation declare in Revelation 5, “ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing,” that one has taken up residence in you.
When that one, the almighty one, has filled you there’s no room for inadequacy. As Paul writes in the following verses to the Colossians, you were dead in your sin but God baptized you into Christ and you now have resurrection life at work in you. You’ve been filled in him in whom all the fullness of deity dwells bodily. The same one who parted the Red Sea for the Isrealites, made blind people see, fed 5000 with a kid’s happy meal, and resurrected himself from the dead is at work in you.
Don’t buy the lie that you’re inadequate and unable to take on what God’s placed in front of you. If you’re in Christ and Christ is in you you have more than enough to endure in joy. My prayer for you and for Kelly and myself today is that we would truly experience the reality that we have indeed “been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority” and as we experience that demonstrate to the watching world the beautiful peace and power that is found only in Jesus.
May the Lord make it so, as it already is.