Phil Christman

Read: Colossians 1:1-14

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. (v. 13)

I have always loved Colossians, a book of great grandeur and hope. Yet this book is a prison epistle, written—like Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon—by a man under house arrest.

House arrest is still common in the United States. As I reread today’s passage, I thought immediately of my friend Tom, a Christian who struggled with addiction and did time on a nonviolent offense. After parole, Tom was on a “tether”—under house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Although it may be better than living in prison, prisoners under house arrest, like all prisoners, still carry a heavy load of fear. The consequences of this fear can be disastrous. One night my friend Tom’s tether malfunctioned. His fear of going back to prison for violating his parole—a very legitimate fear, as parole officers often refuse to accept a prisoner’s word when these devices break—was so extreme that he took his life.

Life can be exceedingly cruel, and I don’t judge Christians who temporarily forget where their true home is. But that home is real nonetheless. When he wrote these words, Paul’s body was considered the property of the state, and he had been locked up in a “domain of darkness.” But he knows himself to be transferred already to Jesus’ kingdom. Such confidence is already a miracle, and the God who gave it can give you, and me, and Tom, so much more. —Phil Christman

Prayer: Lord, make us mindful of our true home.