Ephesians 4:17-24
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dressing with Your True Identity

A young boy had grown up into manhood in poverty. He had never had enough to eat. He only had dirty rags for clothes to wear and was dirty and smelly from lack of hygiene. He was always looked down upon by others. When given the opportunity he would always take and horde whatever he could get because of his constant want. He learned to talk rough and hold his own in world. He even sometimes would steal when no one was looking. He had no father, no real mentor or example but the world and the school of hard knocks to teach him how to survive. All he had was an orphan spirit.
This young man would travel by catching freight trains and bummed around the country. One day he encountered a man in which he saw such love as he had never seen before and when this man looked upon him, he didn’t see him with disdain and judgement, but with love and compassion. This man took the young man to his home. He offered to adopt this young man and provide him with the opportunity for education. He offered to feed, cloth and house him, but even more importantly to bring him into relationship as a member of his family and home. The young man was overwhelmed by the man’s generosity and had such feelings of unworthiness to be brought into such a home and adopted as a son.
One of the first things the man to taught him was to bath and use proper hygiene. He gave him cleaned and pressed suits and garments to wear and began to educate him as an investment banker.
While the young man was very grateful for all that this generous patriarch offered him, he was still prone to want to put on the old dirty rags and go hang out around the railroad tracks and the slum areas. When he did he would tend to hang around the old crowd, drinking and cursing and living his old life.
His new found father set him down one day and shared with him that he could not maintain two identities. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Every day you have to get up and dress with the identity of who you truly are. If you don’t acknowledge daily your true identity and dress accordingly you will soon find yourself slipping back into the identity of who you were, not who you are. That former life has to be gone with all of its attitudes and ways. It represents the antithesis or direct contradiction of what you now are. The old filthy rags have to be burned and your back turned to that former way of life. Even more importantly is to start your day dressing in the identity of who you now are and confessing what you now have. That old way only brought you misery and destruction, but “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).” “Be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It is in the attitude of the mind that battles are fought and won or lost. The former ways have no place now in who you are, but only you can daily dress your attitudes with the identity of who you truly are.
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17).”

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

Rags to Riches

September 2, 2013

Rags to Riches

Colossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

As kids we often would muse, “if you had three wishes, what would you wish for?” As adults today, if we had one wish, what would we wish for? Would it be fame or fortune, health or peace, beauty or strength? I would say the majority of us, while having our needs met, wouldn’t consider ourselves rich or beautiful or famous or wise. If we stopped to really evaluate the ways in which we are rich or we are poor, what would we conclude? Many of us would smile and say; I’m rich with family, or in relationships I have with others. We might be rich in the joy and satisfaction we receive from serving and blessing others and making a difference in their lives. We have often gotten into the mindset that riches means having millions of dollars, but is a millionaire always rich?
Proverbs 13:7 says, “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” In order to be rich, must one always have the tangible substance of material things in their possession?
When we discovered Christ, the Son of God that has freely provided so great a salvation, we discovered a vein of the most precious substance known to man. It runs so deep and so wide and it runs from the earth beneath to the heavens above. So many of us still haven’t really grasped how rich we have become in having Christ. Our concept of riches it still focused on outward possessions. It is fine if you have outward possessions and wealth, but if that is all your heart is content with then you are indeed most poor. There is no greater poverty than the leanness and depravity of one’s soul. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus poses the question, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” When we found that relationship with Jesus Christ, we went from rags to riches, rather anything changed outwardly or not. What is the price for eternal life in the riches of heaven with our almighty loving heavenly Father? What is the price for having all of my sins and faults and failures forgiven and my debts cancelled? What would it cost to have the Christ, the Spirit of the living God, dwelling in me? Does anyone possess that kind of earthly wealth that they could purchase these priceless gifts? Yet Christ died to pay the price that He might freely give them to all that would believe. You and I are so rich beyond measure and yet we are so often focused on what we don’t have. If we truly tapped into what we do have we would realize that there are no limitation on what it is possible for us to have or to do? While we are very, very rich through Christ, we have limited understanding and wisdom in how to use the wealth we possess in the fullness of how God has intended, so we are in school. The school of life is teaching us to practice the principles of the Kingdom that is ours. In order for us to come into the fullness of our inheritance we must learn the ways of kingship and godly rule. In order for us to rule like the King, we must come into the nature of the King. How did our King demonstrate His kingdom to us? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We have gone from rags to riches when we fully comprehend that this Christ is in us. He became poor, of no reputation and endured the death of the cross so that you and I might possess so great a riches. Will we miss the greater by always focusing on the lesser? We spend the majority of our lives and resources pursuing that which is perishing while we neglect that which is eternal and priceless. We are the sons and daughters of Most High God; let us begin to dress ourselves in the rich garments of His righteousness. The world may despise us, but they don’t possess what we possess. We, like our example before us, must become void of self, so that we can bring others up. We want all of those around us to experience this “rags to riches” story. We want them to come out of the poverty and emptiness of their soul into the riches of God’s love and grace. There are not any greater riches in all of earth or heaven than “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: