High-minded

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 3:1-4 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (v. 2) So often we hear the opposite of Paul’s advice: “Get your head out of the clouds.” “She’s too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good.” Does God expect us to become distracted daydreamers? There is a better way to understand these verses, one that doesn’t remove us from reality. It’s easy to become numbed to injustice and poverty here in …

Basilica Blues

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 2:20-23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence. (v. 23) I recently took my family to the Basilica of Guadalupe, the cathedral that houses Mexico’s most beloved image of the Virgin Mary. We watched as several people crossed a concrete patio the length of a football field . . . on their knees. They were hoping the …

The Winning Team

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 2:15 . . . he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (v. 15 NIV) Beaten, stripped, mocked, and hung before the crowd. The cross of Jesus was a message from Rome: “All rival kings like this one will be defeated and humiliated.” It was also a message from Jerusalem: “All such disturbers of the peace will be defeated and humiliated.” But ultimately the cross of Jesus was a message from heaven: …

Will You Take the Plunge?

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 2:11-12 In him also you were circumcised . . . (v. 11) To put it delicately, circumcision is the removal of unwanted skin or “flesh.” Christian baptism, Paul tells us, is a circumcision of sorts. Our membership in the sinful human race is like a layer of skin that we need Christ to remove from us. By dying with Jesus through baptism and faith, we are freed from the “flesh”—we die to our membership in the fallen …

Muchísimas Gracias

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 2:6-7 . . . continue to live your lives in him . . . abounding in thanksgiving. (vv. 6-7) One thing that impresses me about Mexico is how courteous people are here, even though we live in a big, busy city. When we let pedestrians pass or let other cars enter a lane, there is always a curious but clear salute: they lift the back of their right hand to us, often bowing their heads slightly. What …

Out of Order

Dave Gifford

READ : Colossians 2:4-8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit . . . (v. 8) I teach a philosophy class at a seminary in Mexico City. So I have to wince at Paul’s choice of words. Philosophy means simply “love of wisdom.” That’s a good thing. Paul here is not criticizing philosophy in general but a particular philosophy in Colossae. There are ways of seeking wisdom that are actually foolish and downright …