Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let 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. 17And 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.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.



Affections of the Heart

August 28, 2014

Colossians 3:1-2
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Affections of the Heart

The fixations and affections of your heart are the making of your soul. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he. (Proverbs 23:7)” ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)’
What is the desire and passion of our heart today? What are we fixed on and what is driving our lives? We might glibly say, “it’s the Lord”, but do our actions, words and life bear out that truth? Have we laid every other affection, passion and desire upon the altar and said, “have your way oh Lord”? We want our affections to be such that we are clinging to nothing else but the hem of His garment. We can deceive others and we can even deceive ourselves, but we will never deceive the Lord concerning the condition and the affections of our heart. He sees and reads us like an open book. Our words are often not our heart. They may serve only as a disguise for what we want others to think and see.
God has given us a will to choose where we will set our affections and our obedience. What are we choosing in our inward parts? Where are we truly setting our affections? A new life in Christ demands a transformation from the former man of the earth. Our transformation and metamorphosis is taking place as we are hidden in the cocoon of a Christ-centered life where He is our affection and the purpose behind all that we do. It is not done in a moment, but it is done in a process and completed in the twinkling of an eye. In order for the Spirit to have His perfect work we must remain with our affections set upon the things above and maintain a heart that is willing to relinquish all that is not of Him. “Christ in us”, that is our hope of glory.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23-24)


Wearing Christ Inside Out

Colossians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Perhaps, like me, as you think over your daily life and business you are convicted of how little Christ is brought out and made a part of the daily affairs of our lives.  Inwardly we are cognizant of Him.  We may even have a spirit of prayer and praise going on throughout our day, but how much do we compartmentalize our faith.  Perhaps the Lord is not really revealed and manifested in the outward man that deals with the world around Him.  I tend to be a very task oriented individual.  I become very focused on the task I am currently addressing and often zone out other distractions and demands until I finish what I am doing.  In a sense I compartmentalize myself to focus on the task that is at hand.  That tends to create in me a box type mentality.  Everything has its own box or space and depending upon which box I am in that is how I deal with it.  Sometimes it becomes difficult to integrate and mix our boxes.
What we know in our hearts is that Christ must be such an integral part of all that we are and all that we do so that He is automatically coming forth and present in every situation that I am dealing with in my life.  While some of us move from one compartment to the next we may find that in those different compartments we have developed different values.  We may have tough values for dealing with business issues, our compromising values for dealing with tax issues, our promiscuous values for dealing with sexual issues and so on.  With those different values systems and different compartments of our lives we send different messages to people about who we really are.  We can be all spiritual when we are with our Christian friends, “praise the Lord brother” and then talk a whole different language around our work or social crowd.  This description is fitting a lot of us who proclaim Christ today, at least if you get us in the right compartment.
Jesus didn’t ask for a compartment of our heart, He ask that we would love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.  That means that He must become the essence of who we are.  Our identity is no longer in who we are in this world, what we do or the talents that we possess.  Our identity is in Christ, Christ in us and Christ living through us.  The Lord doesn’t have multiple personalities like many of us have been trying to live.  He is one God, with one set of values.  Isn’t it time that we confront who we really are and make one compartment that deals with everything through our Christ being?  After all the scripture does exhort us that whatsoever we do in word or deed that we do it all in the name or the nature and character of Christ, giving thanks to God through that same nature.  I guess it is time that we start wearing Christ inside out, so that He is manifest in our lives at every level for all to see.  After all we need to be true to who we really are.


Reconciliation of Offense

April 17, 2012

Matthew 5:23-24
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Reconciliation of Offense

This is an interesting verse, because unlike the one compels us to forgive the trespasses of others as our Father has forgiven ours; Jesus addresses this to the perceived offender.  This means it is not just up to the offended to get over it and forgive it; it is up to the offender, if they know someone has something against them, to go and make it right, before you offer your gift to God.  It becomes pretty evident that it is important for us the to have our horizontal relationships right before we approach our heavenly one, whether we are the offended or the offender.
One of the biggest hindrances to that is our pride.  We don’t want to admit or acknowledge that we have done something wrong.  Maybe we don’t even know what we have done that offended a person. I believe we could be a hundred percent in the right, but if someone has been offended by us then we want to implement the reconciling tool of humility, not pride.  God is not as interested in our justification of the right and wrong of it, as He is in our doing all that is within our power to restore relationship.  When we offend another that can become a stumbling block to them as well.  One of the basic strategies of the enemy is to cause discord, strife and division.  The more we walk in love toward each other the less we will offend, the less we will take up an offense and the more the enemies strategies will be averted.
Father wants us to keep short accounts.  Romans 12:18 exhorts us, ” If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  James 3:18 give us this promise, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  Colossians 3:15 tells us this about our demeanor as believers, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Finally, Paul concludes his second letter to the Corinthians, in 2 Corinthians 13:11 with these words, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”  One of the keys to right standing with God is the pursuit of right standing and relationship with others.
Have we offended, hurt or wounded someone?  We may feel it is just their perception, but what is God’s perception?  Isn’t it that we do all that we can to make it right and restore that relationship?


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