He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them. Colossians 2:15

So we’ve let ourselves — or someone we love — down again.

You’re a disappointment, we hear in our hearts.

To your God, your friends, your family, yourself.

It’s a natural place to end up on our own. The high standards we often set and don’t meet — even false standards we invent apart from God — have their root in His holiness. The law He’s written on our hearts calls us to crave perfection. The image of God in our flesh longs to recapture its former glory by any means we can.

But for the Christian, there are no more standards left to meet — no more rules that will make us right. God has done what the law could not do through His Son, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:3-4). We are being transformed into His image and glory again by the work of the Spirit, not of our flesh (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God would not deny His Son and speak against the work He has completed in us. Disappointment-talk, then, is the propaganda of the enemy — secret code for “Jesus is not enough.”

In Colossians 2:15, we see that Christ has disarmed these “rulers and authorities” —  Paul’s term for the spiritual powers of evil —  with the sword of the cross. Their weapon, ironically, is the law. They try to fill our heads with bullets of guilt and shame and fear: You haven’t lived up to who you know you should be.

These guns may look shiny and frightening, but they are empty — glorified water pistols of condemnation that have no power to harm us. Christ unloaded the ammunition of the law by fulfilling it on our behalf. He has no need for us to fulfill it again.

And Jesus not only disarmed these powers, He “put them to open shame.” The King James Version of the Bible translates this as “made a shew of them” — a spectacle, a laughingstock. Christ paraded them around, mocking their powerlessness to have us. We are His prize — and the enemy cannot touch us now.

Psalm 23 says it this way:

We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death or guilt or darkness, but we fear no evil, for He is on our side.

He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.

We stop living on crumbs of failure and fear when we feast on what He has done.

So how do we do it — how do we feast on His work for us? Tomorrow, I’ll send some practical and personal thoughts on this to my email subscribers. If you’re not on the list, you can join it here.