Years ago, I had a bizarre experience. A guy came up to my door and said, "It's good you're a Christian, but are you a vegetarian Christian?" And I said, "No, I'm not a vegetarian Christian, but I have nothing against it." He said, "Well, you're not really following God's will unless you follow the dietary regulations and become a total vegetarian." He was fully into Jesus-plus-vegetables.
I have been told throughout my Christian life by well-meaning people that I need more than Jesus. There are many voices and doctrines out there that will tell you the same thing: "What you have in Him is a good start, but it's not enough. You need more than Him."
This happened in the early church in Colossae. There was a mixture of ritualistic and mystic belief systems that influenced the early Christians. People claimed to get visions from God and said you had to worship angels. The apostle Paul wrote a letter -- the book of Colossians -- to counteract these false doctrines.
The theme of Colossians is keeping Jesus Christ the center of your life: if you have Jesus, you've got it all. That cannot be overstated in the church, and Paul certainly stated it over and over again in this letter.
Look at Colossians 1:15-19: "He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. ... All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell."
If Jesus is the preexisting One, the Creator, the Sustainer, the originator of the church, and the incarnate one who revealed the personality of God in human flesh, it only makes sense that He should occupy the most important place in our lives. He shouldn't be replaced or added on to by some ritual or regulation. If all the fullness is in Him, then all you need is Him.
The interesting thing about these false teachers in the Colossian church is that they played upon a deep desire we all have. We all want more than what we have already experienced. We all want a deeper relationship with God. So these teachers said, "You want a deeper life? Follow us and follow this system." But they got so deep, they went off the deep end. This is not uncommon. This sort of thing happens today and in every generation.
But if Jesus Christ is truly all you need, then why would you ever settle for anything less than Him, or try to add more to Him -- Jesus-plus-something-else?
I have discovered that sometimes what I need is a fresh experience of the old revelation, the most important revelation: Christ. Sometimes when we look for something new or something we desperately want or think we need, we don't realize we already have it in Him. In fact, I think Paul would say, "If you have Jesus Christ, you have it all -- you don't need anything else."
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