In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul writes to another church that he cares for to address things that have come to his attention about their life and their teaching. This letter, probably sent at the same time as the letter Philemon and to the Ephesians, was sent to the church from Paul and his apprentice Timothy, as they lead to the church towards a life more full in Christ.
Paul starts by announcing who he is, and what he knows about the church’s reputation. They have faith, love for the saints, and hope laid up in heaven. The church at Colossae was by most modern standards a good church. Yet still, Paul was writing to them with the hopes of correcting some of their thoughts, actions, and theology.
Often, we tend to idolize the early church. We think they had it right. They got it. They were living the model we should all be living. Yet in this letter, Paul writes to a seemingly faithful church to correct some things they had let happen. I love that Paul starts here because before he comes at them about their issues and tries to help them he assures them that he knows they’re faithful, and he knows they love the church and praises them for the good they are doing.
Sometimes when it comes to the way we view our own struggles and our own mistakes we often focus on the bad and beat ourselves up. We can get really negative and really upset over our struggles and sometimes even doubt if what we felt from God was real.
It’s okay to struggle. We all do. It’s not an excuse to live in sin with no remorse, but thanks to what Jesus has done for us, our sins no longer define who we are. So before Paul starts to work on their issues, he looks at the church that he knows is struggling and reminds them of all the good that’s happened, all the growth they’ve experienced, and that he is constantly praying for them, thanking God for their faith.
We can all learn from this. Far too often we define someone by their sins. We see a person’s struggle and that’s who they become to us. Just a liar, just an adulterer, just a druggy, just a mean person, just a homeless addict becomes how we see those around us. God sees more and we should too. This church had its issues, the people had their struggles, as we’ll see, but they were still a part of what God was doing. They were more than their struggles. People are more than their struggles. You are more than your struggles.