Good Life

Clergy Column | The Rev. Norm Hooven

Her life was in turmoil. She prided herself on being able to handle any situation: Her children were model kids, her career and married life were impeccable. Yet it was her fears of inadequacy and insecurity that drove her.

Unexpected events finally broke the facade, and the underpinnings of her life fell apart.

We fall for what we don’t guard against, and we set ourselves up for brokenness when we fall for lies. One lie we’ve fallen for is “We have control of our lives.” (Admittedly, we can choose some things, but we really don’t have control of them.)

Society and our culture have reinforced that message and we’ve believed it. If we do everything right, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, take supplements and vitamins, pray against sickness and poverty, tithe to God’s work, and do the right “churchy” things or culturally acceptable things, somehow God is obligated to keep us from all bad things.

The church in America — not as a whole, but many I’m afraid — has forgotten the true message of the Gospel.

Christ is supreme and sufficient and we are his creation, created for his purpose, and that purpose is not all about us and our happiness, and God in no way is obligated to us for anything.

Paul teaches in Colossians about the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, so the church in Colosse can guard against lies creeping in that threaten to dilute and trivialize Christ and the gospel.

If we’re not grounded in truth, how can we guard against a lie? The Colossians had been taught the gospel but were starting to incorporate the lie because it sounded right and tickled the flesh.

We’ve morphed the gospel to mean what we want it to mean. As long as we’re happy, excited and blessed with health, money and things, we’re on board.

Of course, that’s contrary to the gospel, but it depends on the worldview you start with. Is your worldview filtered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ or something else?

Ethics and morality are now self-centered, not other-centered. “If it’s OK with me, it’s OK” or “As long as it’s not affecting you, I can do it, what’s the harm?” Sound like false teaching?

Paul outlines why Christ is supreme and sufficient: He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3) — “See Jesus, see God.” All things were created by him (Colossians 1:16; John 1:1-3), he is before all things (Colossians 1:17) and he holds all things together. Christ has supremacy in the church and in creation (1:18).

There is no teaching that can be exalted over Christ or oppose his character. He leads the way in our reconciliation with God the father, our salvation and our resurrection and glorification. All the fullness of God is in Jesus Christ, there is nothing deficient in him (1:19). God initiated reconciliation (1:20).

I don’t need Jesus “and” something else to be complete, whole, restored, reconciled (1:22), enlightened or loved. He is enough!