By James Mead,
Guitarist for Kutless
When bank tellers begin their training, they are often shown the characteristics of real money, and then taught how to spot these identifying marks. They are encouraged to handle actual money, so that the “feel” of it becomes familiar. Their senses recognize the weight, the texture of the fibers in the paper and even the smell of it.
The other night, my wife and I were watching LOST on Netflix. It’s such a fascinating TV show; and it’s been several years since we watched it. For those who need a refresher, the storyline follows a group of passengers on board Oceanic Flight 815 who crash land on a mysterious island. Several of the characters have very bizarre experiences, including a young woman named Claire. She becomes a mother when her son Aaron is born on the island, just weeks after crashing there. In a conversation she has with another passenger, a tall and powerful Nigerian man who happens to be a priest, there are some seemingly encouraging words shared with this young mother about baptism. I’m not like this very often, but I had to stop the show for a second, and point out the “counterfeit twist” of what was said to my wife. The world often takes bits of scripture and twists them ever so slightly. If you’re not careful, these “seemingly encouraging” words can begin to make you numb.
In his letter to the church in Colosse, Paul warns his friends to be aware of anyone that “should deceive you with persuasive words” (Colossians 2:4 NKJV). In their time, the believers in Colosse and neighboring Laodicea were surrounded by a culture that claimed to have exclusive rights to understanding the mysteries of the world. This is called Gnosticism; and it is alive and well today. The world is eager to rip apart anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ and question the fundamentals of their faith. Our young children are faced with an environment that is increasingly secular and hostile towards Christianity. The world claims to have exclusive rights to knowledge of the origins of species, the science of the human body and even death.
The Bible says Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through [him]” (John 14:6 NKJV). We also learn, in that same letter to the church of Colosse, that it is Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3 NKJV). So, it is Jesus who gives us exclusive access to the mysteries of the earth, and Heaven itself, as it also He that is “before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17 NKJV).
How do we learn these things about Him? We go straight to the source! The more time that we spend studying God’s Word, and praying, and listening to His voice, the more our senses will become familiar with Him. Even more than that; our very souls will become familiar with Him. The characteristics that identify Jesus will then work their way into our actions. As the elect of God, we will take on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. We will bear up burdens with one another, and forgive one another. “But above all things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:14 NKJV). We will be bonded together, or glued together with Jesus, for “God is Love” (I John 4:8, I John 4:16).
As we spend time with the “real thing”, we will be more skilled at identifying the counterfeits that the world tries to slip into our hands. Paul explains that his warning to the Colossian church is so that they would “beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NKJV).
Like the bank tellers, we will simply feel when something is worthless. But, we should also be able to explain why it’s worthless. God also expects us to be able to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15 KJV).
With great love and compassion, we can tell the world about the Savior, about God who “demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV). We can share our reasons for hope.