READ: Colossians 1:24–2:5
THINK: Bank tellers and others who frequently handle money are typically taught to recognize counterfeit currency. They do not learn this by being exposed to a variety of phony bills. They learn the skill by handling real ones. By becoming extremely familiar with the real thing, they can easily recognize a fake. The same principle applies to recognizing spiritual truth. The better you know Jesus, the less likely you are to be fooled by false teaching.
RESPOND: In what way do Christ’s followers continue to share in His sufferings? (See 1:24 note.) How can your suffering for the cause of Christ affect and benefit others–those who know Christ and those who don’t? Even though Jesus’ suffering was complete and more than enough to provide for our relationship with God, why do people continue to suffer as they serve His purposes and share His message? What is “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints”? (See 1:26 note.) What is significant about “Christ in you,” and what ultimate hope does that provide? (See 1:27 note.) In what way do spiritual challenges and true teaching help “perfect” Jesus’ followers? (See 1:28 note.) What kinds of “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3) are “hidden” in Christ”? How can truly knowing Jesus keep you from being deceived?
PRAY: Ask God for the strength to share in His sufferings and to reach others with His message of love and life. Give Jesus thanks for living and working through you by the Holy Spirit.
ACT: Go through the day with an intense awareness of Jesus living through you by His Holy Spirit. Let this guide your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Let it inspire faith and boldness to say and do things that will honor Christ, even if this brings opposition. Go on-line and look up information on the persecuted church. Then pray for Christians around the world who are suffering for their faith. (One site is Voice of the Martyrs at www. persecution.com.)