Scripture: Read Colossians 1:24 through chapter 2.
Reread Colossians 1:24 and Colossians 2:1-2. Paul speaks of his suffering in (Col 1:24) and his struggle (agony in Greek) in (Col 2:1-2), but for what purpose? _______________________________________________________________
Does it rock your world, as it does mine, to hear Paul say that he rejoices in his suffering for the church? I can almost hear our culture’s response: “Let me get this straight; you’re willing to suffer for the church and you’re saying, it’s really worth it?”
Christ gave His life for the church and Paul is saying, “Me too.” The church is His Bride and He will return to claim her (Rev. 21). We are perhaps more accustomed to thinking in terms of Christ saving individuals, but here we see God’s highest purpose, which is the church.
Paul is very interested in us as individuals. He wants to “present everyone mature in Christ,” but he knows this cannot be accomplished without the Body, the community, the church. Unless we are willing to do life with other people (not just people we like), many aspects of Father’s heart will be unknown to us (Col 2:2). Catch the vision of your heart being encouraged because you are experiencing the power of having your heart knit to others in love.
1. Why do you think Paul is actually happy to suffer for the welfare of the church? ______________
2. How is your vision of Christ’s Body, the church, like Paul’s? _______________________________
3. Why might it be important to you to cultivate a very high view of the church? _______________
4. Paul often speaks of the church being Christ’s Body with the idea that you are a hand or toe or eye or ear (1 Cor. 12:12f). Why would it be important for you to think of the church this way?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you Jesus’ view of His church.
- Ask God to give you His love for those in your church.
- Pray for your usefulness in your church.