Christ’s Preeminence Displayed in Our Secular Lives: Col. 3:18-4:1
Maybe you can identify with this scenario: It’s Sunday morning, and you are in a hurry to get to church because of the responsibilities you have to fulfill. You’re dressed and ready to go, but you are running behind because your spouse is struggling with what to wear. You go to check on the kids to see if they are ready, and they are sitting in their underwear with breakfast all over their hands and faces. You get them washed and dressed, comfort your daughter because you were too rough brushing her hair, then load everyone up in van. Meanwhile, your spouse is still in the closet trying to figure out what to wear. You are officially late. You finally get everyone in the van and are off to church. Your patience is thin. You pray hellfire and brimstone down on the driver who cuts you off and is driving 10 mph UNDER the speed limit in the fast lane. Your anger is running hot. You snap at your spouse and the children. An argument ensues, but suddenly as you pull into the church parking lot, everyone fixes their faces and smiles to the parking lot serve team. You pull into the space and prepare to walk into the sanctuary, but there is a problem—one of your children forgot his shoes! You think you are going to lose your mind! But as you approach the church doors and someone greets you, how do you respond? “I’m doing great brother! What a great day to be in the house of the Lord!” You put on your smile and are ready to serve God.
If I’m being completely honest, this passage in Colossians hits me like a punch to the gut. Paul reminds us that Christ’s preeminence is not limited to Sunday mornings, or Midweek, or Life Groups, or my personal Bible study. The preeminence of Christ should touch every part of my life and guide me in every relationship. I cannot say that Christ is truly preeminent in my life and live a dichotomous life. It matters little if I am the most devoted follower of Christ on Sunday if the gospel has no power over my life on Monday. What am I truly accomplishing if teach the most eloquent and insightful lesson Wednesday night and fail to show humility, kindness, and compassion to my wife and children at the breakfast table? What am I truly accomplishing if I host the largest, most vibrant life group but my employees view me as arrogant, selfish and vicious with my competitors? What am I truly accomplishing if I am faithful to serve at church every Sunday, no matter what is asked of me, but my employer would say my work ethic is adequate at best? Can I really say that Christ is preeminent in my life when His preeminence only impacts my life 2-3 hours a week?
If Christ is truly preeminent, every relationship, every interaction, every moment in my week should reflect that fact. We should be the most loving spouses, the most devoted parents and children, the most kind and generous employers, and the most faithful and reliable employees. Though our good deeds should never replace our sharing the gospel, they should adorn our lives as a testament to the transforming power of the gospel. And here’s the key to living life this way: according to Paul, the key to being able to live this way is understanding that you are not doing it for the other person; you’re doing it for God. Why is that important? It is important because it frees you from their response. It doesn’t matter whether they appreciate your love and service of them, because you’re not doing it for them. You don’t need their affirmation because you are receiving your affirmation from God. Understanding this truth, let’s make Christ truly preeminent and live out the gospel in every area of our lives.
- Can you identify with the story in the first paragraph? If you can’t, can you point to how you may be living a dichotomous life?
- Think through your relationships outside of church. What are the areas where you may struggle to show Christ’s preeminence? If you are having difficulty in a particular secular relationship, how could you show the love of Christ to that person? How might loving them for Christ’s sake instead of theirs change your attitude towards them or influence that relationship?