“By” and “For” Keep it All Together!
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
Meditating on what God says is the favorite pastime of the righteous soul (Psalms 1:2). These two verses from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae provide us with thoughts that fill our minds with understanding, giving us a heartfelt satisfaction that only our Creator can provide. His Word provides us with a picture of who we are and where we came from which give our lives a true direction, not an imaginary view of how to live. How important it is to find the meaning of life in the midst of a dark world where so many are confused about who we are and why we are here!
Paul is describing for us again what God has revealed throughout the Bible, starting from the very first book! This time, however, instead of pointing out the visible things of the Creation, Paul lists invisible things that are behind the things we see with our eyes. There is a power structure in the spiritual (unseen) realm, and it consists of “thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers.” I don’t fully understand how these all work together in God’s eternal plan, but we do know that from the beginning, there has been great conflict among these powers with Satan being the ringleader of a great revolt against God and His Will. While you and I did not start this spiritual battle, the Bible shows us that it is up to us to decide which side we are going to follow.
From this passage it is plain to see that we ought to follow God and those who follow His Will. The two little words “by” and “for” show us how it is only right that we follow God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Since we were made “by” Jesus, shouldn’t we pay attention to Him and seek His Will? Since He made us “for” Himself, isn’t it only right to live up to the purpose “for” which He made us?
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (I John 5:21). The Bible identifies one of our great problems as “idols.” Think about how these false gods take us off-track and lead us into darkness and confusion. For example, “the love of money” is an idol which many people follow, leading to all kinds of heartache and sorrow (I Timothy 6:6-10). What does this have to do with the passage in Colossians chapter 1? The truth of the passage is that Jesus made us, NOT money. We were made for what Jesus has in store for us, not for what money can do for us. If God made us, not money, why then should we serve money?
This same principle applies to any idol that man has devised in his corrupt and vivid imagination. God has revealed Himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Matthew 22:32). If you serve a god who has revealed himself, or herself, in any other way, you are serving a dream which will only end up as a nightmare when this life is over. Your idol cannot see your troubles, hear your prayers, or give you comfort in your darkest hours the way Jesus is able to comfort His followers (Psalms 115:1-9). How happy we are when we humbly receive the great Truth that we didn’t make ourselves and that we weren’t made for ourselves! How satisfying it is to know that none of the idols of men made us and that we owe them no allegiance!
Not only is it true that we were made “by” Jesus and “for” Jesus, but Colossians 1:17 also reveals that it is through Jesus that all things “consist.” In other words, Jesus is the only One Who keeps it all together! Sometimes our lives seem to flow along smoothly, but at other times they are about ready to fall apart and leave us in despair! Jesus will keep you sane through difficult times, and even uses those trials to make you stronger!
Friends, we were made by Jesus. We were made for Jesus. Will you live up to your real purpose and enjoy the sweet rewards of obedience to your true calling? Jesus invites us all to call upon Him, find true life, and see how He is the One Who can deliver us when the gods of this world fail! “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalms 50:15).