“Come here, Mr. Wiggle Worm,” Peter said as he put an earthworm in a can. “Hey, Dad, are worms good for anything besides bird food and fish bait?”
“Yes,” said Dad. “They help the earth breathe.”
Peter laughed. “Like lungs?”
Dad smiled. “Not exactly, but as worms burrow through the ground, they let fresh air through the soil. The more they eat and digest the soil, the better it is for growing things. God has a purpose for everything.”
“Well, I’m glad one purpose for worms is to make bait,” said Peter. “We’ll catch more fish that way! This will be enough, won’t it?” Dad nodded, and they headed to the lake.
That evening the family enjoyed fish for supper. “Yum!” Peter said as he took a bite. “Fishing was so much fun! I wish I could skip school and go fishing every day.”
Mom laughed. “Now that would be overdoing it a little,” she said.
“Besides, you like school,” said Peter’s sister, Ann.
“Yeah, except science,” Peter said. “I don’t agree with some of the things Mrs. Moore says. She thinks the universe came about on its own, but the Bible says God created everything, right?”
“That’s right,” said Mom. “It’s amazing that people can’t see how the beauty and complexity of nature points to a God who planned everything and makes it all work together.”
Dad nodded. “Even though sin broke creation in deep ways, we can see the goodness of God in everything He made.”
“Like worms and how they help things grow?” Peter asked.
“Right,” said Dad. “The sun is another example of God’s goodness. It’s just the right distance away so we can live comfortably. And seasons follow one another in perfect order. Only God could have planned everything so well.”
“And He has a special plan for people too, right?” asked Ann.
“Indeed, He does!” Mom replied. “Jesus came and died for the whole world, and one day He’ll return and make all creation new so it’s no longer affected by sin. He has a purpose for everyone who trusts in Him–a plan for how He wants each one of them to be part of His Kingdom on earth.”
Dad nodded. “Because of Jesus, all of creation–down to the littlest earthworm–has a purpose in the Kingdom of God.”
Did you know that God is in charge of everything? He’s the one who created the whole universe and makes it all work together. Though the sin we brought into the world causes a lot of problems, it won’t be around forever. Jesus saved the world from sin when He died on the cross, and He has a purpose for everything–including you! Trust Him and His plan for your life.
In Paul’s day, people debated about what force brought and held the world together. Some philosophies taught that water was the ultimate agent. Others believed that it was air. Paul declared that this unifying, sustaining force was not a what, but a who: Jesus Christ. Christ is everything-Creator, Sustainer, Head, Beginning, Firstborn-and has preeminence over all life. As Lord of the universe (“the one who is before all things”), Jesus has every right to be Lord of everything He has created. If Jesus is truly Lord in one’s life, there can be no limitations or conditions on that statement.
As a physical body gets its signals from the head, the body of Christ on earth-the church-gets its signals from Jesus, its head. The church has a hope unlike any other in that Jesus is the firstborn of the dead-the first to be raised from the dead in a glorified form. Because of His resurrection, there will come a day when all fallen creation will be re-created, and the elect in Christ will join Him in glorified, everlasting bodies.
The words in verse 19 are perhaps the strongest affirmation in Scripture of Christ’s divine nature: all the fullness of God was in Jesus. Christ was no mere man or teacher, or even an angel or another celestial being. He was, and is, fully God. Paul told the Colossians that Christ was uncreated and was Himself the Creator. He existed before time. He is one with God in personality. Christ has priority and sovereignty over creation. He is the sole mediator between God and man. He is the heartbeat of the created universe. When we try to sever our lives from Christ, everything falls apart. Every person who has severed themselves from Christ has been disappointed.
Sometimes in our efforts to grow closer to God, we end up diminishing Him. We try to contain Him. We try to define Him in a way that our limited human minds can understand. When we try to squeeze God into our limited human understanding, we miss the very essence of God as the Creator, overseer and Sustainer of all things seen and unseen in Heaven and here on Earth. God is a being and sometimes He can’t be understood. Instead of distancing ourselves from Him, that knowledge should inspire awe and reverence for God as the One who holds everything together, now and forever.
Paul says Jesus Christ was a representation of God the Creator-Father, but He was also God Himself in human incarnation. This flies in the face of those who say that there are many ways to get to God. Christ is God Himself, so He is the only way to God. We can’t have Christian principles without Christ. The validity of Christian principles depends on Christ’s authority. His authority depends on who He is-God in human form.
Christ shows us who and what God is. He shows us what all people are meant to be-the image of God. Christ is a window through which we see God’s nature. He is also a mirror that shows our human possibility, our fallenness and our destiny.
People are born alienated from God and are His enemies until they are reconciled to Him through the blood of Christ. No mere man could accomplish this peace; only the fully human and Divine God-Man could bring all things together through Himself. In Christ we are a new creation. All of our sins have been forgiven and covered by His blood. That does not mean that we are not to forget our sins, but we must not glory in them either. If we are Christians and if we are growing in Christ, we must never assume that we have always been what we are. What we are is Christians who have been saved by the grace of God.
We need to break through the modern disguises of sin. In the fourth century sin was identified as pride, anger, envy, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust-also known as the seven deadly sins. Today, sin comes in the form of self-expression, self-fulfillment, assertiveness, identity, taking care of my own being, the right of my own space, therapeutic enhancement. All these terms express deep emotional, psychological and spiritual needs, but they become the easy snare of sin’s entrapment. We justify all non-Christian uses of sex by talking about self-expression and personal freedom. We become unavailable to others because we must seek our own space. We trample on the feelings and being of others because we want to assert who we are. We are our own centre of reference, so we are estranged.
Through Christ’s death and resurrection, the relationship between God and man is restored. God’s passionate yearning for His children’s return home is never abated. The fire of love that burns in His heart is unquenchable, constant and continuous. The theme of redemption is part of the fabric of everything Paul wrote.
God has been working on a deep plan with a secret purpose that can only be discovered in the light of the Holy Spirit. The mystery is Christ who lives in us.:
- Christ lives in us. This is the hope of glory. That happens when we accept Christ as our Saviour and invite Him into our lives.
- We are the recipients and communicators of this mystery. We are to tell other people about Christ.
- We suffer so that the secret may be fully known. Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians from prison. With his words, Paul had courageously preached this life-changing message among the Gentiles: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Now, from prison, Paul was also preaching the riches of this glory with his life. This is how every Christian can fulfill the word of God. The faithful life speaks as loudly as faithful words. He saw his imprisonment as a natural extension of his mission. Christ’s sufferings are our own, and our sufferings are Christ’s sufferings. Christians throughout the world are often persecuted for their faith, especially in Third World countries.
- Christ works in and through us. We must rely on Christ’s energy and not on our own.
Even amid imprisonment and persecution, Paul’s focus was not on himself but on the advance of the gospel. Christians can “rejoice in…sufferings” when they look for what God is doing rather than concentrating on how they are doing.
Christ is in us and we are in Him, like a branch is in a vine. We can hope and pray that when we come to the end of our lives we can say to Jesus, “I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work You gave me to do.” Christ is a vine looking for branches today. Are we willing to be one of those branches? When we become one, or if we are already a branch, are we are finding and finishing the work He wants us to do for Him-work that glorifies Him?
At some point in time we separated evangelism from discipleship. We preach the gospel, but we don’t disciple people. We don’t get them on their feet spiritually. Discipleship and evangelism go together. Discipleship isn’t just talking about Jesus. It is also being a friend, which is what a lot of people need today. When we share the gospel, we talk about the promise of heaven and the reality of hell. There is a hell, but we don’t have to go there. God has made a way out of hell-if we believe in Jesus Christ.
It isn’t enough to say we believe in God. Are we willing to act on our belief? God is calling us to a relationship with Him. Will we answer the call? Whatever challenges we face in life, we can face them knowing we have an all-powerful God on our side. He’s big enough to be Lord of creation and loving enough to come to earth and die for our sins. We can trust that our all-powerful God is for us and will help us overcome any challenges we face.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp.1672-1673)
- Dunnam, M.D.& Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 31: Galatians/Ephesians/Philippians/Colossians/Philemon (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; pp. 3341-354)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Bible (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Pastor Ed Young, “On Purpose, For a Purpose.” Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
- “Trusting God’s Power in Your Pain.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pastor Dick Woodward, “Paul’s Spiritual Secret.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “Be a Friend.” Retrieved form Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Skip Heitzig, “Jesus-Plus.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Adrian Rogers, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Ed Young, “Don’t Clip the Strand.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- “Incarnation of Christ.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “The truth About Eternity.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Harry C. Trover, “A Worm with a Purpose.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org