Strength in Numbers

A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

–Ecclesiastes 4:12

A father gave his young son a bundle of sticks to break. The boy certainly tried. He lifted the bundle high and tried to smash it against his knee, only to bruise his knee. He set the bundle against a wall and kicked it, but he had no success that way either. Finally, the father took the bundle of sticks from his son, untied it, and began to break the sticks one at a time. Soon, the entire bundle was easily broken.

What a great picture of the body of Christ! When we are joined together with other Christians, we are not easily broken. But when we are unbundled and separated from other Christians, we are easily broken. There is spiritual strength in numbers. That is the theme of our study in Colossians this week.

Paul was distressed when he heard that the Colossian Christians were being seduced by false teachers and drifting away from the faith. He wrote, “I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged” (2:1–2). In order for the Colossians to stand strong in their faith, Paul was praying that their hearts would be encouraged. Remember that to the Hebrews, the heart represented the center of thought. So Paul was saying, “I want your minds to be strengthened.”

Strengthening your mind with God’s Word begins with you. Don’t wait for your husband to become a better spiritual leader or for your wife to submit to your leadership—you alone are responsible for taking care of your spiritual life. Don’t blame your parents for your spiritual condition. Don’t wait until your Sunday school teacher becomes more interesting or your pastor becomes more godly to get serious about your spiritual life. You are responsible for strengthening your mind with the Word of God. That is the first key to standing firm in your faith in Christ.

In verse 2, Paul gave a second key for staying strong in the faith: “Having been knit together in love.” The imagery here is of a physical body. The body is composed of trillions of cells. Even though the cells have various responsibilities, they’re all working together for the good of the body. In fact, when cells begin to grow independently, the result is cancer. So it is in the body of Christ. Unity in the body of believers is essential for our spiritual strength.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Strength in Numbers” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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