Friday, June 10, 2016

Colossians 1

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold togetherI am not a theologian, but I am a Christ-follower.  My faith and my relationship with Christ are so important to me, which is probably why scrupulosity, or religious OCD, has been such a huge struggle for me.  OCD tends to affect those things in our lives that are most important to us.

I've continued in my relationship with God through the angst of OCD, but it has not always felt joyful.  So when I felt joy as I read Colossians 1 this afternoon, I wanted to share it with you!  See below for the passages that stood out to me along with why I enjoyed them.

Colossians 1:1-3
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people - the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel..."

Our faith and love spring from hope!  I also love the phrase "the true message of the gospel."

Colossans 1:6 (starting with the new sentence)
"In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace."

My mental illness has helped me understand God's grace in a way that I'm not sure I would have experienced without it.  I still have lots to learn about God and His grace, but I feel like I'm on my way to true understanding.  I'm much farther along in my journey now than I was a year ago.

Colossians 1:9-14
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

So many great things in this passage!

  • Knowledge, wisdom and understanding - I have learned a lot more about Classical Conversations (CC) recently, and I'm even more excited to add this to our homeschooling journey!  They reference a verse in the Psalms about knowledge, wisdom, and understanding which is mentioned again here.
  • The strength to get through this mental illness comes from God and God alone.  He is so, so powerful and gives us the strength we need to endure.
  • God is the one who qualifies us to know Him.  I can do nothing to qualify myself and earn my salvation.
  • HE HAS RESCUED US FROM THE DOMINION OF DARKNESS!  Those bad mental illness days can seem very dark, but they do not have dominion over me.  I have been brought into the Kingdom of Jesus who has redeemed me - paid for me with His life - and He has forgiven ALL of my sins, no matter what they are and no matter how much I question.

Colossians 1:16
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."  

These verses are also referenced in Classical Conversations material.  The mission of CC is to know God and to make Him known.  We learn more about God through the study of His creation.  The whole point of learning is to know God more.  I love this.

Colossians 1:17
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

God is before my mental illness.  He is greater.  He is bigger.  He holds me together when I feel like I'm falling apart.  He holds me together so that I can function and take care of these three babies.  He holds me together so that I am not paralyzed by anxiety.  He is so, so much bigger than this illness.

Colossians 1:21-23a
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel."

Scrupulosity has been such a large part of my life.  Have I done something to make God angry?  Did I sin without asking for forgiveness?  Is there a barrier between God and me?  I love the phrase "enemies in your minds," because to me it directly applies to my mental illness.  I am not alienated from God, and I am not His enemy, even though my OCD makes me question these truths.  He has reconciled me to Himself through Jesus.  He has made me holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

When I'm having a really bad time with mental illness, I continue in my faith, even though it can be extremely, extremely hard.  I hold on to the hope and truths that I have built my life upon, and I choose NOT to give up.  Mental illness does not rule my life.  God does, and I am His!

What role has Scripture played in your mental health journey?