Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year, Hope and Colossians 1

New Year's resolutions are funny things, with varying motivations. Some say they are pointless, but I'd say the turn of the year is as good an opportunity as any to think about where you've been and where you are going.

Resolutions are usually made with the hope that they'll be carried through, maybe that our luck or circumstances will change. Often they are about us. But how often do you make resolutions about someone else and how you'll treat them?

In Colossians 1, Paul writes:

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel

So he sees in a church he hasn't visited (he has heard about their faith but not seen it himself, verse 4) that they have faith in Christ, and love for all the saints (those set apart, i.e. all believers, not just the ones canonised by the Catholic Church). This love for others is because of "the hope laid up for you in heaven".

The Colossian Christians are other centred because of a heavenly hope. It isn't a hope of going to heaven but a hope laid up there, like the money saved in a bank account for retirement - it will one day be drawn upon. Hope of heaven isn't about a place to go to when we die, but a future reality on Earth, and it motivates Christians to faith in Christ and love to each other (and to those beyond the walls of the church - but that's a topic for another time).

As I think about my New Year resolutions, they do of course concern me and what I can do, but if they aren't ultimately about love I can show others, then they are of little value. That isn't to say self improvement or care aren't valid things to do, but they are all the more valuable when they are outward focused. Of course, to be able to do that, you need hope that it is all of value in the end. A hope stored in heaven.

Happy New Year!

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