The Heart of the Matter

I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf . . . , and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged.

–Colossians 2:1–2

A traveling evangelist was preaching in Arkansas, and he stayed at the home of a local couple. As the lady of the house was about to take a shower, she noticed what appeared to be a pen sticking out of the evangelist’s shaving kit. A closer look revealed the pen was a video camera—and it was recording. She called the police. It turns out this wasn’t the first time the evangelist had videotaped a woman in the bathroom. When the police spoke to him, the man admitted he had a problem.

Unfortunately, stories like these aren’t rare. A student who was on fire for God ends up joining a cult. A devout wife and mother abandons her family so that she can find herself. A conservative theologian announces he no longer believes the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God.

What prevents this kind of defection from the faith? The answer is in Colossians 2.

Some of the Colossian Christians were being led astray by false teaching. In verse 1, Paul wrote, “I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf.” The word “struggle” is translated from the Greek word agon, which referred to an athletic contest, such as a foot race or a wrestling match. The athletes would be in great physical agony. Paul was saying, “I feel agony in my spirit about those who are being led astray.”

A true follower of Christ loves what Jesus loves and hates what Jesus hates. Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ . . . loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” If you’re a true follower of Jesus Christ, you’re going to love the church and agonize over anything that hurts the body of Christ. Paul was in agony because some of the Colossian Christians were being led away from the faith. So he prayed “that their hearts may be encouraged” (Colossians 2:2).

Maybe you have fallen into a sin that is luring you away from the faith, such as an addiction or an adulterous relationship. Or maybe you’ve become disinterested in the things of God, and you wonder, Can I regain the intimacy I once had in my relationship with God? Perhaps you haven’t wandered, but you don’t want to fall away from the faith.

What is the cure for defection from the faith? Paul said the cure is for your heart to be encouraged.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Heart of the Matter” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

“Traveling Evangelist Faces New Voyeurism Charge in Arkansas,” Action News 5, October 31, 2011, https://www.actionnews5.com/story/15917791/traveling-evangelist-faces-new-voyeurism-charge-in-arkansas.

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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