For in [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him. Colossians 2:9-10
When we fill our car with gas and the pump shuts off automatically, the tank is full. When we fill a sports bottle with water before heading to the tennis court, it is full. When we pack the dishwasher with plates, glasses, bowls, and utensils, it is full—there is room for nothing more. We understand what it means for something to be full; it has reached its capacity.
The apostle Paul used the idea of fullness to express the truth that, in Christ, we are full of God Himself. First is the “fullness of the Godhead”—there is nothing lacking in God. He is perfect, full of deity. Then, Paul says that the fullness of God dwells in Christ in “bodily” form. Finally, if we are in Christ, then all the fullness of God dwells in us: We “are complete in Him.” If we have Christ, there is nothing more of God’s presence and reality to receive. To search for something more of God outside of Christ is a vain search.
Don’t be tempted by religious propaganda that seeks to give you something new (Colossians 2:8). If you are in Christ, you have the fullness of God.
There is an infinite fullness in Jesus Christ.J. C. Ryle
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!Romans 11:33
In an orbit between Mars and Jupiter zooms an asteroid worth trillions and trillions of dollars. Scientists say 16 Psyche consists of metals such as gold, iron, nickel, and platinum worth unfathomable amounts of money. For now, earthlings are not attempting to mine this rich resource, but the United States is planning to send a probe to study the valuable rock.
The promise of untold riches just out of reach can be both tantalizing and frustrating. Surely in time there will be people who will champion the cause of reaching 16 Psyche for its treasure.
But what about the prospect of riches that are within our reach? Wouldn’t everyone go for that? Writing to the first-century church at Rome, the apostle Paul spoke of attainable riches—those we find in our relationship with God. He wrote, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). Bible scholar James Denney described these riches as “the unsearchable wealth of love that enables God to . . . far more than meet the [great needs] of the world.”
Isn’t that what we need—even more than gold nuggets from some far-off asteroid? We can mine the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge found in the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit helps us. May God lead us to dig into those riches and to know and treasure Him more.
Praise brings us into the presence of God, where our worries evaporate
Have you ever considered how you treat the Lord? Some people repeatedly lift up prayer requests yet fail to express admiration, praise, and gratitude. When that’s the case, they may be attempting to use the Lord to fulfill their needs and desires without demonstrating love for Him.
In 1 Peter 2:9 it says God created His people to praise Him. Our worries and concerns are of great importance to Him, but He also wants us to come to Him with a worshipful heart, not an attitude of self-centeredness.
When we extol the Lord, our focus shifts to Him. Then we’ll begin to recall His greatness, goodness, mercy, love, and faithfulness. We’re told to praise Him joyfully (Ps. 100:1), continually (Psalm 34:1), corporately (Psalm 108:3), and wholeheartedly (Psalm 111:1). And we even see Paul and Silas praising God in the midst of pain and imprisonment (Acts 16:25).
Take some time today to reflect on God’s mighty work of salvation in your life. Instead of approaching the Lord with a list of requests, simply praise Him for His faithfulness and righteousness. When your heart is full of praise, worries dissipate and you’ll trust God to provide for your needs in His own timing.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” (Genesis 7:11)
Our text describes the primary physical causes for the Flood of Noah’s day, as well as the primary sources for the vast waters which covered the earth. The first source is very interesting from a geological point of view, and grasping some semblance of its meaning is necessary if we would understand the Flood.
As the “deep” in Scripture usually refers to the ocean (i.e., Genesis 1:2), so the “great deep” that was “broken up” evidently speaks of great subterranean reservoirs or chambers deep inside the earth, all of which spewed forth their contents at the same time. This breakup continued all over the earth for 150 days (see Genesis 7:11; 7:24; 8:2).
The reference to “broken up” merits attention, for it implies a wrenching of the earth’s crust, a great tectonic event. The same word is used in Numbers 16:30-33 to describe the supernatural opening up of a great pit into which the rebellious Korah and his followers and their families fell, thereby squelching their mutiny against Moses’ leadership.
Any such breaching of the earth’s crust results in earthquakes, and if occurring under water results in devastating tsunamis (sometimes called tidal waves) traveling through the water at speeds approaching the speed of sound. Continued pulsation of these fountains all over the earth for 150 days would totally restructure the surface of the earth, demonstrating God’s hatred for the sin of the antediluvian world. Coupled with the other factors involved in the Flood, it is no wonder that “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6). JDM
The task of the church is too great for any one person to compass and too varied for the skill of any one person to accomplish.
God has met this difficulty by dividing the task and giving to every man gifts that enable him to do his part. By distributing the work, He lightens the burden for all and makes possible the smooth carrying out of His purposes among men. That is undoubtedly the reason behind the gifts of the Spirit given to the various members of the Christian community. Here, as elsewhere, the manifold wisdom of God is revealed….
Blessed is the man who knows his gift and who seeks to exercise it toward the other members of the body of Christ “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). NCA080
[T]he Holy Spirit desires to take us and control us and use us as instruments and organs through whom He can express Himself in the body of Christ….The Spirit of God, His presence and His gifts are not simply desirable in our Christian congregations; they are absolutely imperative.TRA030, 027
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.—Romans 5:1
The breastplate of righteousness protects us from the feeling that we are not good enough to be saved. We now look at a feeling which Satan delights to whip up in the heart of a Christian—the feeling that we are only accepted by God when we are doing everything perfectly. The feeling gives rise to perfectionism—a condition which afflicts multitudes of Christians.
The chief characteristic of perfectionism is a constant overall feeling of never doing enough to be thought well of by God. Karen Horney describes it as “the tyranny of the oughts.” Here are some typical statements of those who are afflicted in this way: “I ought to do better,” “I ought to have done better,” “I ought to be able to do better.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, but in the twisted thinking of a perfectionist, a person believes that because he or she could or ought to have done better, they will not be accepted or thought well of by God. They come to believe that their acceptance by God depends on their performance. They constantly try to develop a righteousness of their own rather than resting in the righteousness that Christ has provided for them.
If you suffer from this condition, then it’s time to put on your spiritual breastplate. You need to remind yourself that the way you came into the Christian life is the same way you are enabled to go on in it—by depending on Christ and His righteousness, not on yourself and your righteousness. You are not working to be saved; you are working because you are saved.
Lord Jesus, I see that when I stand in Your righteousness, I stand in God’s smile. But when I stand in my own righteousness, I stand in God’s frown. Help me move over from frown to smile. In Your dear name. Amen.
For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.—Galatians 1:10
At times you will have to make a choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isa. 55:8–9). As important as it is to strive for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always paramount.
Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your relationships (Matt. 10:35–36). If Paul’s primary goal had been to please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to obey Christ. At times, obedience to God sets family members at odds with each other (Matt. 10:35–36). When you follow Jesus’ Lordship, your family may misunderstand, or even oppose you, yet your obedience to God reflects your identity as His child. Jesus said that those who obey His will are His brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). God does not intend to divide the home, but He places obedience before domestic harmony.
It is important to get alone in quietness with God so that you understand what pleases Him. The world’s thinking will mislead you more easily when you are not clear about what God desires. It broke Peter’s heart to know that the opinion of a servant girl had mattered more to him than the approval of his Lord! If the desire to appease others tempts you to compromise what you know God wants you to do, learn from Peter’s mistake. Determine that you will please your Lord regardless of the opinions of others.
Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you? Judges 6:14, NIV
Gideon was a young soldier whose nation had been battered into poverty by the Midianites. He was defeated in his spirit as he tried to hide in a winepress while threshing enough grain to keep his family alive. Suddenly the Lord appeared to him, commissioning him to lead his nation against Midian. “Go in the strength you have,” the Lord told him.
Gideon didn’t feel he had much strength, but he had enough to fulfill God’s will. And that’s exactly how much strength you have. Weakness comes and goes, depending on illness, age, and the demands of life. But we are stronger than we realize, for the Lord is our Strength and our Salvation. He will always give you enough strength for what He intends for you to do.
Erwin Lutzer said, “A faithful God does not expect you to do what you cannot; He supplies the needed strength.” As we faithfully serve God, He gives us the strength we need for the tasks He has placed in front of us. So go in the strength you have.
Do you need strength? Peace? Wisdom? Direction? Discipline? Ask for it! God will hear you.Charles Swindoll
Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?Esther 4:14
In a small Illinois town, domestic violence comprises 40 percent of all crimes in the community. According to a local pastor, this issue is often hidden in our faith communities because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. So instead of shying away from the problem, local ministers chose to exercise faith and courageously address the issue by taking classes to recognize the signs of violence and supporting nonprofit organizations working on the issue. Acknowledging the power of faith and action, a local minister said, “Our prayers and compassion, coupled with some tangible support, can make an important difference.”
When Esther, Queen of Persia, was hesitant to speak out against a law that authorized the genocide of her people, she was warned by her uncle that if she remained silent, she and her family wouldn’t escape but would perish (Esther 4:13–14). Knowing it was time to be bold and take a stand, Mordecai queried, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (v. 14). Whether we are called to speak out against injustice or to forgive someone who’s caused us distress, the Bible assures us that in challenging circumstances, God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5–6). When we look to Him for help in moments where we feel intimidated, He’ll give us “power, love, and self-discipline” to see our assignment through to the end (2 Timothy 1:7).
Have you ever wondered why some people can read the Bible without understanding it? The reason is because it’s God’s revealed Word and to comprehend it requires His wisdom. Those who don’t know Christ have no ability to understand the things of God. But those of us who’ve been saved have the Spirit of God within us; He illumines our mind and teaches us divine truths.
In John 14:16-17, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the Helper. The truth is, no matter how spiritually mature or immature we are, we need His assistance every time we open our Bible. He teaches us the true meaning of the text and helps us connect concepts throughout the Word in order to gain greater understanding. Then, as we integrate each truth into our mind and life, He reveals more. The satisfaction and excitement we experience in learning and growing energizes us to keep digging into God’s unfathomable Word.
To make the most of your time in Scripture, prepare beforehand. Ask the Lord to forgive you of any sin and cleanse your heart. Then request that He open your mind to His truths and give you a teachable and submissive spirit.