Colossians 1:21 "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister."
If is such a small word... with such potentially huge implications. Verse 23 begins with this little word 'if'.
Yesterday our transmission died in Spruce Grove, 5 hours from home. Not a wonderful event but it would have been much worse if a great friend had not come to rescue us. Thanks to him we are home safely with our injured vehicle. If he had not come I'm not sure what we would have done.
Yesterday Tracey's grandmother died at 99 years old. It was still a shock. Death is an enemy no matter how and when it comes. However if love did not bind us to each other it would just be an emotionless event. Also if we did not have faith in the One who has the keys of death we would have no hope for the future. It would just be a final end.
"If you continue" says Paul. To finish a race you can't just begin, you must continue. To finish a degree you can just begin you must continue. To finish anything we can't just start we have to persevere until the end.
The nation of Israel had enough faith to leave Egypt but not enough to enter the promised land. It's a tragic story. So many incredible experiences on their journey of faith yet with the destination just in sight they lost their faith and never made it.
How did it happen? It seems so crazy and illogical and wasteful.
Here is exactly what happened to them: At the climax of their journey they forgot who was the one doing the work. They looked inward instead of upward. They either forgot who carried them so far or they became delusional thinking it was all their accomplishments.
In the verses preceding 23 Paul says because of what Jesus has done and is doing He will present us blameless and irreproachably perfect in the end. He initiated the plan we call the gospel and He has fulfilled every part of the mission. He took us out of Egypt and He will get all of Egypt out of us if... if what? What could possibly stop Him? If we take matters into our own hands and look inward instead of upward.
Paul's life was one of following regardless of the obstacles or his apparent inability to meet a given challenge. Are we following or are we carefully only doing what we can handle? Are we walking by faith in His limitless power or walking by sight where we can safely go on our own?
What you do with your life is entirely up to you because God values our freedom supremely. However the Master can't make you His masterpiece if you refuse to be molded in the crucible of surrender.