Putting Off the Old

September 3, 2014

Colossians 3:5-11
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.

Putting Off the Old

Let’s say I go out and buy a house that is a fixer-upper. The last tenant that lived there lived fast and hard and let the place become totally run down. Now the house is still livable, but not what is desirable. We have purchased the house with the intent that as we live here we are going to restore it to its original glory and beauty. When we purchased this house we looked past all of its defects, faults and failures. We had the vision to see it for what it was going to be and not what it was. As we live in this house daily we spend time working on its repair and restoration. It doesn’t happen in a day or a week or even a month. In fact it may be a project of a lifetime, but our goal will only be reached as we are faithful each day to continue working on some area of its repair and restoration.
Outside the paint is peeling, but we can’t just paint over the old with new paint, otherwise in a short period of time the new paint will be peeling as well. First we must strip off the old and scrape off all of the peeling loose paint. The same principle holds true throughout the house. We must remove the old and broken, before we can apply the new. If we just cover up the old, all we have done is temporarily prettied it up, but we haven’t restored it and that is the same as hypocrisy.
I think you can see the analogy and where this going, because the same principles hold true when the old man is inhabited by the Spirit of the Lord and we become a new tenant and a new creation man. Our purpose and intent for this house is not the same as it used to be. Before we lived in it only for me and what served my purposes. Now we live in it for the glory of Christ and what honors and pleases Him. What He is telling us here is the old has to go. All of those old attributes of our fleshly living for self have to be put off and renewed by the ways of His Spirit life. All of those old habits of the ways we used to look at and view others, the language that we used, the ways that we acted and the ways that we used to think must all be stripped away. In their place we are renewing ourselves with the building supplies of God’s Spirit and His Word. There, our mind, thoughts and purpose are renewed daily as we set our mind on things above and live in the purpose of the new creation man that we now are in Christ. We are not fully transformed in a day, week, month or even a year, but as we abide in Christ and live out of His nature, we find that we have a helper in this transforming work. What would be overwhelming and impossible with us has become possible by the Holy Spirit that now abides with us. Everyday He is there, as we will commit ourselves to Him and His plan for us. Every day we continue to relinquish and give up our former ways and habits to Him, so that He can help us to rid ourselves of the old and replace it with the new. He continues to teach us, instruct us and lead us, as we will set our minds and hearts upon Him. Through Christ this old house can be transformed and made new as we grow in His knowledge and grace from glory to glory even into the same image of Him that has called us.

Blessings,
#kent

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Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 


It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.  

One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world.  

Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be?  

As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 

 
Blessings,
kent

The Filter of the Blood

January 21, 2014

2 Corinthian 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The Filter of the Blood


 I am in awe and amazement at this declaration of scripture.  Can we truly comprehend that Christ made an exchange with us.  He became our sin so that We might become His righteousness which is the righteousness of God.  I definitely got the best end of that bargain.  All of this so that the Father might reconcile us back to Himself and bring us back into relationship and fellowship with Him.  Indeed that is amazing grace.  We have a high priest in Christ Jesus that has become identified with us in our weaknesses and infirmities, being tempted in like manor as we were tempted to fully represent us before the Father in our human state.  Hebrews 4:14 -16 says, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

Jesus has gone through the heavens as our great high priest.  He has gone through the natural heaven of our earthly man.  He has gone through the second heaven of spiritual warfare and demonic activity and He has come into the third heaven where He sets at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us and bring us, in Himself, into the Father’s presence.   Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “Since, 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.”  

You see Father God looks upon us and now instead of seeing our sin, weakness and failure, He sees us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus.  Through that blood He beholds in us the righteousness of His Son that has been imparted to us by our faith in Him.  When He sees you, He sees you complete in His Son and because you are in the Son you have access to throne and you can now approach the throne of His grace with confidence and boldness so that you may receive mercy and grace in your time of need.  

If the righteous Holy God of all can see us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus and behold the righteousness of Christ in us why is it we can’t look through that same filter to see ourselves and others in the body of Christ the same way?  Many of us struggle with self condemnation and always feel estranged from God because we don’t see ourselves through the filter of His blood. Many of us see the faults and shortcomings in one another.  We judge and condemn one another rather than forgiving one another.  When a brother or sister falls so many times instead of restoring them in love we cast them out and count them no longer worthy.  

When were any of us ever worthy?  Ephesians 4:29-31 gives us as Christians this exhortation, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Don’t you suppose it is the Father’s heart that we view each other through this same filter of the Blood of Jesus that He views us.  Since when did we become God and Judge, especially when the same things reside in us that we condemn in others?  If God can love me, then there are no limitations on who He can love and who He can forgive.  

In Colossians 3:12-14 we receive this like exhortation, “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.”  Isn’t it time that we get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus?  People, no matter how great they are, will always disappoint you.  They will always fall short of your expectations.  So many of us are looking to people, rather they be spiritual leaders, civic or political leaders, marketplace leaders or even our husband or wife, mother or father.  None of these people can take the place of Jesus in your life.  Don’t put on others what only Jesus can do for you.  Understand they have the same weaknesses and frailties as you.  Forgive them and forbear with them.  See others through that same filter of the Blood of Jesus that the Father sees you.  

 
Blessings,
kent

What’s Under the Surface

January 10, 2013

Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What’s Under the Surface

No matter how long you are around the “Christian” community it never ceases to amaze you what can come out of outwardly godly people. There are a lot of “Christians” that talk the talk, quote scriptures, praise the Lord, preach the gospel, but if you step on their toes or push their buttons they can totally come uncorked on you. That precious godly appearance and demeanor can suddenly turn into something totally unrecognizable and manifest some of the most ungodly words and behavior. Suddenly that person that was so sweet and kind to you can become your worst nightmare. It is amazing how we as “Christians”, who are suppose to be carrying the love and nature of Christ can suddenly become so unChristlike and so easily offended.
The test of a true believer and the character of what is in them is best revealed when they are under pressure and persecution. Their response is a window into the heart of their character. Do they respond with kindness and compassion, forgiving the other as Christ has forgiven them, or do they respond in bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and every form of malice?
One of the first things that we need to realize and get a revelation of when we come into Christ is that we died to the natural man. Many of us have no clue about the death to self, we have only candy coated our exterior to look “Christian”. If we truly grasp “that it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me”, then why are we so easily offended when we don’t get our way, when people don’t meet our expectations or they step on our toes?
It is an interesting dynamic in churches to see how many people come and go. Many come in thinking it is the greatest church in the world until something doesn’t meet their approval and then they are out of there, continuing their quest for the Holy Grail of churches that will meet all of their expectations.
People are human and by nature, many of them will offend or fail you at some point in life. Your response to their offense or failure in your eyes, speaks to the maturity of where you at in Christ. Are your eyes on Jesus or are they on people? Are you covering others in love or are you finding fault and taking up offenses?
What I find even more amusing is that most of those who become so indignant with their offenders, no matter how they, personally may act or what they say, they are totally justified, righteous and feel they have been given the God-given mandate to judge and condemn those they are offended with. They become totally blind to their own conduct and unChristlike nature. We become God’s fruit inspectors while ignoring the fruit of our own actions and words. Nothing reveals a religious spirit more than this.
How do we respond when others purposely or accidentally push our buttons? Is Christ in control or is the flesh unleashed? Many times our own households are the proving ground of what our true character is. We are most unguarded around the ones we love and feel safe with. How do we respond to them in times of irritation and testing?
“Christianity” isn’t a new suit we can take on and off. It is a lifestyle of growing up into the very nature and character of Christ. One of the things that works that nature in us is in practicing His presence in the midst of adverse situations. Responding out of the Spirit and not out of the flesh. Practicing love and forgiveness where we might feel justified to dislike and hate.
Thank God for your enemies, your offenders, those that step on your toes and push your buttons. They can do a work in you that your friends never will. They are the ones that test the metal of what you really carry within you and the character you are living out of. When you don’t see Christ, then it is time to repent and ask the Lord to help you go deeper, abiding in the Spirit and not just looking spiritual. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Blessings,
kent

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