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Dec 30, 2018

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:1-7 

            This paragraph reveals Paul's great concern for the people in Colossae and Laodicea.  What makes this particularly interesting is that Paul had not been to those places.  The people he is so concerned about are people he had only heard about, but never met. 

             He writes this letter "that their hearts may be encouraged" (Col 2:2).  There are at least three paths to the encouragement that Paul has in mind.  First, they can be encouraged by Paul's example of diligence and earnestness in the gospel and the Christian faith.  "I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you" (Col 2:1).  His struggle in the gospel will encourage them to be more sober.

             Second, encouragement of heart is found in the mutual love of Christians … "that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love" (Col 2:2).  Christianity is not only an individual experience, but very much a corporate experience.  Note the many "one another" passages in the New Testament.

             Third, encouragement of heart is found in our understanding of the doctrinal truths God has revealed in the Scriptures … "to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ . . . rooted and built up in him and established in the faith" (Col 2:7).  Among other benefits, a grasp of Biblical truth safeguards us from false ideas. Christ Himself is the center of God's revealed truth.  The more we understand Christ the more stable are our minds and hearts.  Our minds inform our emotions about what is true about God and His ways.  In this way our hearts are encouraged as we journey through life, with its heavy unexpected trials.