Archive for May, 2008

What is a life that honors God? – Colossians 3

Plugged In - What is a life that honors God? - Colossians 3I often hear people talk about how they’re confused as to what it means to follow Christ. They’ve been taught a wide variety of lists from well-meaning clergy or Sunday School teachers.

Colossians chapter 3 is a powerhouse of information for the believer. The apostle Paul gives very clear direction about what it looks like to live a life that honors God:

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This can seem like a daunting list, for sure. As I read each one, I paused. Sexual immorality – I have struggles here. Impurity – well… Lust – ouch. Evil desires – I have those occasionally. Greed – um…yes sometimes. What about anger? Yes. What about rage, malice, slander? I have been known to participate in these. And lies? I don’t want to, but I have lied before.

So, I pretty much have all the characteristics that would make me look like a fine, upstanding non-believer.

Yet among all the “do this” and “do that” of this chapter, there lies hope. Look at verses 15 and 16. Do you see the word “let”? We have only to allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. We have only to allow the word of Christ dwell in us. There’s the hope.

It’s “abiding in the Vine” or just “plugging into” God’s power every day. With our eyes fixed on our relationship with Him, we’re less likely to stray off into our “earthly nature.” By focusing on Him – which could include prayer, reading His word, listening to worship music or sermons/books on CD, for example – we’re much more likely to live with thankful hearts, bearing and forgiving one another, and full of love.

Don’t be discouraged. Our human nature is opposite of living for Christ. But, we have the fullness of God in us through Christ. Tap in and rise above!

grace & peace,
e

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Fine-Sounding Arguments – Colossians 2

The treasure in what I read today is SO rich. It was difficult to focus on just one thing to write about. The writer of this letter (the Apostle Paul) to the church at Colosse starts this chapter by telling them that his purpose 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. ” You see, Paul did not plant this church. As a matter of fact, he had never even been to this church. Yet, his concern for them was just as deep.

Then, he goes on to tell them why he was telling them this:

4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Paul warns this new church of the dangers of “fine-sounding arguments.” Paul is warning these people to not get bogged down in senseless arguments of the time – the false Jewish teachers, the gentile philosophies.

The bottom line is this: we need to continue to live in Christ “rooted” and built up in Him. My men’s group is going through a study of the book “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson. I think God may be telling me something…everywhere I turn, I’m hearing this phrase “rooted in Christ”. We can’t grow unless we’re “rooted”. We can’t grow unless our foundation is on Christ.

Everything we need is found in Christ – not this world and it’s fine-sounding arguments. We have been given fullness in Christ.

grace & peace,
e

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…created by Him and for Him – Colossians 1

Creation - ...created by Him and for Him - Colossians 1Today, I started reading in the book of Colossians, Paul & Timothy’s letter to the church at Colosse. As usual, I enjoy reading Paul’s greeting. He shows their heart for the church and for the people that are in the body of Christ.

What jumped out at me today is the description they give of God, starting at verse 15:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

I was particularly drawn to verse 16. “By Him all things were created…created by Him and for Him.”

I was reminded again today that it’s not about me. It’s about HIM! He created ALL things, including me, for HIS pleasure. His pleasure is to have a relationship with me. He won’t force me, He won’t manipulate me, but He wants me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

You are amazing, God!

grace & peace,
e

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