Have you ever noticed how a lot of advertising plays on people’s insecurities? It makes people feel like if they don’t get this product their life is going to be incomplete and they will be missing out.
It always cracks me up during the Olympics seeing world-class athletes in a McDonald’s commercial. Like, come on. There is no way this athlete who has dedicated his entire life to winning a gold medal would eat at McDonald’s. Especially while they are competing. But we still see the commercials because we want to feel like an athlete while also eating garbage. Do you know why marketers do that? Because it works. As a whole, we are insecure because we feel like something is missing. We don’t feel whole.
These feelings of insecurity are a result of living in a broken society with compound, generational effects of sin. Often we don’t feel whole because our sin has taken something away from us. But it’s not just our sin that makes us feel incomplete. Other people’s sin breaks us as well. Maybe you were abused, betrayed, lied to, stolen from, cheated on; and it’s not fair, it’s not right, but you are stuck in the mess of someone else’s sin. That mess has created insecurities in your heart and your life because you have lost something that you should not have lost. Perhaps it wasn’t sin, but a tragedy. Something or someone was taken away from you so suddenly and it makes no sense, but it hurts so bad and you wonder if you will ever be whole again.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the marketers that prey on our insecurities. We do it to ourselves. Sometimes we try to overcompensate in areas we are insecure. Other times we try to avoid those areas altogether. We try to fill voids with something that promises to satisfy. And when it inevitably fails, we try again. We keep believing the lie. We overcompensate again, trying to trick ourselves into thinking we are ok. We keep avoiding those areas of our lives, even though that insecurity is becoming a toxin in our soul. Or we keep filling the void with stuff, with experiences, with new relationships. But because we keep scratching the itch, we never really heal the wound. It’s only in the person and work of Jesus we can find true healing. Check out Colossians 2:6-10.
Colossians 2:6-10 So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
The first step towards letting Christ make you whole is to submit.
SUBMIT TO HIS SOVEREIGNTY
Submitting to Jesus as Lord allows us to experience his power and authority over what makes us feel incomplete. When we feel insecure or when we feel like something is missing from our lives we tend to try to grab as much control as we can in other parts of our lives. When we feel a void we try to fill it. Our feelings will tell us to fill it with substances, or alcohol, or binge-watching Netflix, or spending money. Our feelings tell us to gain control, not submit to the control of someone else. And our feelings are real. But they often lie to us about what we want. Yes, they are strong and consuming. It’s often very hard to let them go. Maybe you have been holding on to toxic feelings for so long have become more of a security blanket and it’s begun to rewire the way you think and the way your body copes and the idea of surrendering to God sounds like you are losing all over again.
One of my kid’s favorite books is called “What Am I Feeling.” It’s about a little boy named Sam who feels “flippy in his tummy” and is afraid. Sam’s dad and school teacher help him and all his friends learn a simple yet deeply profound truth. “What we feel is important. But feelings are just feelings. They are not in charge of us.” This is why the mantra “By Grace, Through Faith” is so vital for us. Receive God’s grace then act by faith despite your feelings.
Faith will lead you to heal and wholeness while your feelings will keep you in bondage. Faith will lead you to Jesus so that He can put your life back together. Feelings will lead you to things that may scratch the itch, but won’t heal the wound. Faith might lead you to go to counseling so you can have professional help experiencing Christ’s healing. Your feelings will lead you to keep struggling alone. Faith will lead you to Christ. Feelings will lead you to anything and everything else.
Faith might lead you to go to counseling so you can have professional help experiencing Christ’s healing. Your feelings will lead you to keep struggling alone.Tweet
And when we by faith surrender to the lordship of Jesus, we are surrendering to his control. This means we are acknowledging he has a purpose and a plan in whatever event or situation made us feel like we are not whole – and being okay with him having a purpose and plan. When we surrender to his lordship, we begin to experience what an amazing gift of grace his lordship is.
Everything that makes God, God, is in boldly form in Jesus. And then we have been filled by him. Some versions say complete in him. Both are great ways to describe this concept. I like the word filled because it denotes a completed act with ongoing results. You were filled at the moment of your salvation and that filling keeps producing results in your life. It makes you whole. Despite the hurt that happened in your past, as real as that was, as wrong as that was, Christ has filled you and he wants to keep on filling you. That void that was created by sin, Jesus wants to fill it.
That void that was created by sin, Jesus wants to fill it.Tweet
The hurt that’s going to happen in your future….Jesus will be there to fill for that for you. And those feelings of inadequacy, of insecurity, they have no authority over you, because Jesus is Lord over everything, and you are filled with and by him. When the Apostle Paul says that we being filled by him he is showing us all the resources we have to combat the lie that we are incomplete. In union with Christ, we have been rooted, built up, and established in faith. In Christ, we have been filled with the same authority that he possesses. Our feelings of insecurity and inadequacy and incompleteness have no authority over us because Jesus is Lord and we answer to him!
Now, living in this, walking in this reality is an ongoing process. We are just to make steady, often slow progress. But progress is possible when we are grounded and rooted in Christ. We aren’t meant to be tumbleweeds with no roots, blown around left and right by our feelings. We avoid this when we are firmly rooted in Jesus Christ so that we can be built up and strengthened and healed. This is what happens we daily submit and surrender to Jesus’s lordship. But there is something else about Christ that Paul brings out in our text that enables us to experience wholeness. Check out verses 11-15 of Colossians 2.
Colossians 2:11-15 You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of Christ, when you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.
JESUS CHRIST IS TRIUMPHANT
So Paul is telling us believers about the benefits available to us because we are united to Christ to “walk in him” faithfully and wisely – especially in the face of lies – lies that come from without and within. He wants us to understand all the resources we have in Christ so we can walk in wholeness. In Christ, we have been spiritually set apart from the realm of the flesh to that of the Spirit. In verse thirteen Paul tells the Colossians that before their faith in Christ, they were spiritually dead in trespasses and cut off from God’s people. However, in Christ, God made them alive and forgave all their sins. But then notice verse fourteen.
Colossians 2:14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.
Paul gives us a vivid picture of this action that is God’s exclusively. Through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God erases the sinner’s certificate of debt. He cancels it, he wipes it out, washes it over, and removes it. How? By nailing it to the cross. Every sin that you and I have ever committed or ever will commit has been nailed to the cross. God himself paid the debt when his Son died on the cross. God upheld the holiness of his law when Jesus died to pay the penalty of our sin. God not only erased the document, but he took it away, by nailing it to the cross. When Jesus died, the condemning document was destroyed. We are fully forgiven. But it’s not just our sin debt. It’s also the obligations that go with that sin. Shame, guilt, condemnation, emptiness, insecurity, all of it has been erased and canceled. Those feelings that lie and tell you you are not enough, have been nailed to the cross. Christ has nailed our sin and all the ugliness that goes with it to the cross. Sin and all of its ugly side effects have no legal claim or authority over your life. And get this, it hasn’t just been defeated. Look at verse 15.
Colossians 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.
The phrase disgraced them publicly relates to God humiliating these spiritual rulers in a public spectacle of shame and defeat. The word triumphed evokes the imagery of a triumphal procession where a victorious general would lead a parade to display the treasure and prisoners of war from his conquest. That conquering king or general would march his victorious army down the Main Street of the town or kingdom he had conquered. Displaying his power, displaying his wealth, displaying that he was greater. Those losing general or king would then be dragged at the end of this parade in humiliation, his failure on display for all to see. It was all about a display of power and strength and victory in the ancient world.
Paul’s ingenious wordplay comes across in the English use of the word “triumph.” If you were a witness on the hill of Golgotha on the day that Jesus died, you might not have described what you saw as a triumph; not for Jesus anyway. By dying and then defeating death in his resurrection, Jesus demonstrates his vast superiority to Rome’s might. They threw everything at him and they still could not keep him at bay. Even though it may not have been immediately obvious, his willing submission to their brutal methods was the very means of his victory. And it is our victory as well. The sin of your past has no power or spiritual claim over you anymore. The sin that was committed against you has been defeated by Jesus. The very thing that makes you feel like you are not whole, the thing that keeps you awake at night, the thing you have been wrestling with for years and years and because it makes you feel incomplete has been nailed to the cross, publicly disgraced, and triumphed over by Jesus! Because of the work of Christ on the cross, those things that make us feel incomplete no longer have the final say in our lives. The cross does. And it says you are whole.
Because of the work of Christ on the cross, those things that make us feel incomplete no longer have the final say in our lives.Tweet
So how do we experience the triumph of Christ?
- Regularly surround to the Lordship Of Jesus. This means I am ok with his purpose and his plan for our lives. I may not understand it, or even like, but I am surrendered to walk the path he has laid before me.
- Instantly taking our feelings to God. Every time something triggers past hurt, or we feel tempted to sin give that to God. Learn to instantly go to God in prayer.
- Remind yourself that you are whole in Christ. Meditate on Scripture that talks about your new identity. Rehearse your forgiveness to yourself. Memorize this passage in Colossians. Put it up all over the home and your car.
In the book I mentioned early, Sam is struggling with fear. He is afraid to do Show and Tell in front of his class. But he recognizes his feeling as just a feeling, takes it to God in prayer, then he does a great job at Show and Tell. The story ends with him saying “he likes how brave feels.” Do you know what the amazing thing about this is? As we regularly do those three things, our feelings catch up. And we will like how brave feels.
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