WHAT IS YOUR BARRIER TO INTIMACY WITH CHRIST?
- Key Verse
- When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Christ died on the cross to pay the debt of our sin. We were dead in our sinfulness. Now, we have been made alive in Him through His resurrection and have been restored into relationship with Him.
Who among us doesn't know what it feels like to be in debt? Depending on the amount of debt, I suppose the feelings could range from a minor obligation to crushing despair. There is a very real sense of being a slave to a debt and the lender who owns it (Proverbs 22:7). Colossians 2:14 describes a debt that is greater than any monetary debt. The "certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which is hostile to us" demands our very lives as payment.
For a crime punishable by death, it was customary to nail the certificate of the decree of one's crime on the cross over the one being crucified. When the criminal was dead, the debt was satisfied, and the decree was canceled.
This description of our enormous debt is sandwiched between two incredible and encouraging truths: First, we were dead in our debt, but we have been made alive together with Him through His sacrifice. Second, the certificate of our debt was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. For those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, the punishment has been carried out, and the decree has been canceled. Nothing else has to be done.
I've been blessed to hang out with some folks in re:generation, Watermark's recovery ministry. One of the hardest things to do in recovery is to stop focusing on the debt (our sins) and experience intimacy with the One to whom we were formerly in debt. Focusing on the debt erects barriers to intimacy with Christ in which we feel that each new sin incurs a new debt that must be paid. It's a terrible cycle, but there is hope!
Look back at Colossians 2:13. Jesus made us alive together with Him. Because God paid the ultimate price to make possible intimacy with us, will He not also offer us the power to maintain that intimacy with Him if we seek it? Thank Him for the freedom from debt that you have in Christ and ask Him to help you choose intimacy with Him over anything else that might interfere with that intimacy.
Discussion Questions1. Have you received forgiveness from your debt to God by accepting Christ's sacrifice on your behalf?
2. What are the things in your life that create barriers to intimacy with Christ?
3. Are you willing to let God remove those things in order to maintain intimacy with Him? Even if that means asking others for help?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
August 20-24 (Colossians 2- 1 Thessalonians 2)
Read Colossians 3:12-17.
• What does Paul say you should clothe yourself with in verse 12?
• How would your life look different if you put on all of these each morning?
• Verse 12 (NLT) says we should "[m]ake allowance" for each other's faults, what does this mean to you?
• What's the most important "piece of clothing" you should put on?
• What does verse 14 tell us to always do?
• What does it mean to counsel others with the words of Christ?
• What do you have to be doing to be able to share Christ's words with someone else?
• Do you live your life in a way that represents Christ to others?
• How could you be living differently so Christ is reflected more clearly to others through you?
Activity: Get out some markers and paper. Ask each person to write one of the words from verse 12 on separate pieces of paper. Now look at the word in a mirror. What did you notice about the word? Now write the word on another piece of paper so that when you look at it in the mirror, you will be able to read it correctly. Was it hard to write the word differently so you could read it in the mirror? Did it take practice? Following Christ and reflecting Him to others is not always easy. It takes practice and commitment to really know His Word and to reflect Him to others.