CONTENDING

“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. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”—Colossians 2:1–3 (NIV)

What’s worth fighting for? Is it your favorite sports team in playoff season? Is it your child who’s getting picked on at school? Is it your lifelong friend that is moving across the country?

Here in the beginning of the second chapter of Colossians, Paul shares that he is contending—fighting—for his audience, the early Church. He’s in prison. He’s struggling, but he knows that it’s all worth it because he loves the Church. He wants them to be encouraged, joined together in unity, so they’ll all know and understand more about Jesus.

Paul calls Jesus the “mystery of God.” A mystery is a story that draws you in slowly. Like a detective uncovering facts from witnesses, we get to discover Christ as we read about Him in His Word. The whole Bible is a story about God, and in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

There’s an old 90s movie where a group of young kids find a treasure map and decide to go on an adventure to find the “X” on the spot. They’re a mismatched group—there’s the leader of the pack, the nervous kid that wants to turn back, the smart kid who has his gadgets and gear, and the strong kid who is too cool. They struggle through traps, snares, enemies, and obstacle courses, but in the end, they discover the treasure! Their journey to get there bonds them for life.

This is an image of the Church. Paul is able to fight for the Church, through his difficult journey of faith with mismatched co-laborers that he also names in his letters, because he knows the real treasure is Christ. After his conversion in Acts 9, Paul spends the rest of his life inviting and encouraging the Church in Colossae and countless others in the adventure of discovering Jesus.

Ultimately, Paul follows the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1) who contended for us. Jesus fought for us when He bore our sin and shame on the cross, was buried, and resurrected three days later. What’s even more amazing is that Jesus did the contending and He’s also the treasure. The road might not always be easy (John 16:33), but we get to join with our brothers and sisters to discover more about Him every day, fall more in love with Him, and bond together in the journey of faith.

DIG: When is the last time you contended for something or someone like Christ contended for you?

DISCOVER: How can you follow Jesus’ example and contend for others today?

DO: Invite someone to study the Bible with you.

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