I want you to know how hard I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
In these verses, Paul mentions to his readers that he has been “struggling” for them (v. 1) and that his struggle was that they come to know the full riches of a complete understanding of the mystery of God, namely Christ. (v. 2) we know that the “mystery of God” is one of the ways that Paul refers to the Gospel, so he is struggling so that the people might come to see all that they have in the Gospel. To put it another way, Paul is struggling to make disciples, to assist these people in growing in their faith to a mature level of understanding.
It struck me that this is what we are all called to do. To “struggle” so that our brother or sister may come to fully understand the riches that are in Christ is our purpose in this life.
In verse 3, Paul goes on to say that in Christ are all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and it strikes me that this statement runs counter to what the world around us sees as “wisdom and knowledge.” Verses four and five are really telling: Paul tells his readers that he is doing this so they will not be deceived by “fine-sounding arguments.” I love that, “fine-sounding arguments!” What shall we take from this? As I see it, we have a serious role to play in leading our “younger” brother to stand firm in the knowledge and truth of Christ, to help them, to guide them and yes, to struggle for them so that they will not be deceived by the “wisdom” of this age, and to nurture them into the fullness of Christ. I wonder how often we see this imperative as our goal, rather than looking out for ourselves only…