Colossians was a pivotal book in my growth as a new believer. The following is a snippet of my testimony. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to share all of my messy life. My life demonstrates what Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy because of this, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate the utmost patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
When I was nineteen, I came face to face with Jesus. In a sermon, the preacher asked us to turn to Luke 14. This is the passage about the Last Supper before Jesus would be betrayed by Judas and crucified. I’m not sure what the rest of the sermon was about because all I could see was Judas, and how I was just like him, trusted by the other disciples. I walked with them. I did good things like mission trips and Christian service with them, but in my heart, I was still living to please myself. All Judas seemed to care about was the money. All I really wanted was acceptance and approval without repentance. That day I walked down the aisle and humbled myself in repentance.
The Lord flipped on a little spot light of faith, I stepped into that circle of light because although I was a throw away girl, I was pretty sure I was still “any” and “all” means “all”. Right? What I didn’t deal with is my repeating cycles of abuse and deep need for love, acceptance and approval, which leads me to Bill.
Soon after coming to faith in Christ, I met Bill. He love bombed me! He said all the things I was dying to hear. He wrapped beautiful empty words around me like a spider web catching me in yet another cycle of abuse. When he asked me to marry him, I readily said yes, but that is where the dream ended and the physical abuse began. I would find myself paying for his drug habit. What’s worse is that I could deal with the blows, but I couldn’t give into living together before we were married.
One night, during an especially physical altercation, I cried out to the Lord to save me. To this day, I do not know how I got out of my apartment, or out of the building, or down the road to the gas station. I went in the gas station to ask the cashier to use the phone. He could see that I was in trouble and let me call my brother. I remember seeing Bill walking circles around the building, while I waited for my brother to come and get me. The next morning, while I knew Bill would be at work, I got as many of my things out of my apartment as I could, and moved into my brother and his wife’s basement.
But you remember how I said God pursues us. I didn’t have to live in the unfinished basement. God gave me a friend. I moved in with her and family (husband and son) on the condition that I would seek Biblical counseling. That’s where I heard the word co-dependent for the first time. During this time, I was overjoyed with the process of discipleship in my life. I went from being a throw away girl to redeemed in Christ. God was doing the hard work of peeling back my denial, so that I could see who I am in Christ.
The truth of the Gospel saved me from the cycle of sin-cry-repent-repeat.
I prayed through Paul’s prayer (Colossians 1:9-14) every day while going through counseling. What most people, myself included, are not prepared for is that healing hurts. Every time I pull weeds from my garden, I think, “This is what healing is like.”
You have to tug hard creating a lot pressure to pull up that weed up, ripping the roots, disturbing the soil, and leaving a small whole, where the roots were. Ew! And that ripping sound makes my stomach cringe. It hurts.
It hurts to confess the cycles and patterns of sin in our lives, and it doesn’t matter how they started. We still have to repent. We are all saved out of something. If we chose not to acknowledge the patterns, cycles, or systems of this world that influence us, we will continue to live out of them. God loves us enough to hurt us to free us from the bondage of the past.
Like the Colossians modern day Christians must, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
I realize this post is too long for the background and history of the church at Colosse, so you’ll have to come back tomorrow for that.