Have you ever moved somewhere new? I’ve moved several times in my life and every time the transition has been a struggle, no matter how excited I was to live in that new city. I would get lost, feel out of place, and when things got overwhelming, I would wonder if I should have even moved to begin with.
The people of Colossae were new—new to Christianity, that is. Colossae, located in modern-day Turkey, was located at a crossroads, making the city both a commercial and tourist destination. Paul had most likely never been there, but he had heard of their faith and pursuit of holiness (Colossians 1:4). The Colossian church was primarily made up of Gentile believers who, according the focus of Paul’s letter, were being confronted with teachings contrary to the gospel of Christ. Paul’s desire in his writings is to encourage the Colossian believers in their new faith and help them form a stable foundation on which to grow.
Paul points out early in his letter that central figure in the Christian faith is Christ Himself: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Paul appeals to the Colossians to orient their lives and faith around Christ, not the persuasive yet false teachings we’ll read about in Chapter 2.
In the final two chapters of the letter, Paul continues the theme of the supremacy of Christ by discussing how the believer ought to live as a citizen in this new city. He talks about how to protect and defend the city, identifying the characteristics of a healthy citizen and how they should conduct themselves. They are to live as “God’s chosen ones, holy and loved” (Colossians 3:12).
As we read through the book of Colossians together, may we remember that our citizenship is in heaven. Whether we are new to our literal or metaphorical city or have resided there awhile, we must orient ourselves to Christ alone.