The outcome of making Christ our all in all, in letting His life-giving Word richly dwell within us, is the abundant Christian life. However, unlike what most people might think, the abundant Christian life doesn’t mean that all will be perfect, that we’ll not have another care in the world or that life will be easy. On the contrary, the one thing we are guaranteed in this new life is persecution, hardships, and work. Lots of work. But at the end of the day it is all worth it. Why? Because as Paul encouraged us, if we do our work heartily as for the Lord we will receive an eternal reward for our effort.
Do you enjoy where you live? Is your home a sanctuary of comfort, love, and safety? After a long day at work or school, do you enjoy walking through the door and finally being home? I hope so! I know I do. Home is a haven in the midst of the rough world and a place where I am the most comfortable to be myself. But what makes home such a special place is not the location or the building but the people living in it. It is the love and laughter shared, the encouragement given, and the lighthearted teasing and joking that makes our home the place that it is.
As we fix our eyes, heart, mind, affections, and attention on the things of heaven and that which lasts through eternity, we’ll quickly come to realize one thing: we need a new spiritual wardrobe! II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are a new creation, a new man, a new person—the old has gone and the new has come. But this new person needs a new wardrobe to go with their new status as child of the living God. Therefore, Paul tells the Colossians:
We’ve explored the glory of God’s mystery, the preeminence of Jesus Christ, and the hope of the gospel. Now it’s time to look at how our lives ought to reflect these wonderful truths. For our lives and actions must match the faith we profess. We must walk the talk and live our lives out in such a way that all those looking on may have no doubt that Christ is risen.
Life is a race. This is a common metaphor used with a variety of implications. Some use it to refer to the various seasons and stages of life. But we, as Christians, typically use it in reference to our spiritual walk. We didn’t come up with this nifty turn of speech, Paul did. Throughout his letters he likened the spiritual life to a race. And just like all races, there are rules on how to run and consequences if those rules are broken. The greatest consequence an athlete could ever face is disqualification.
How’s your tree growing? Last time we talked about being rooted and built up in Christ and used the analogy of a tree and how it grows upward and downward simultaneously. Likewise, we also must be growing in our spiritual walk with Lord by rooting ourselves more firmly in Him through time spent with Him in the pages of His Word and relationship-building time of prayer. And as we grow and root ourselves in Him, we’ll come to an astounding realization that Christ is enough. Enough to satisfy our hearts. Enough to keep us from returning to our slavery to sin. Enough for all areas and aspects of life.
The fall season has officially descended upon us. The mornings are chillier, the days are shorter, and the delicious smells of mulling spices, hot apple cider, and fresh apple pie fill the kitchen. However, one of the most distinct marks of the season is the vibrant fall colors that transform ordinary maple and other deciduous trees into canopies of splendor.
Christians all have knowledge of the same mystery, are saved by the same Savior, promote the same gospel, read the same Bible. Yet despite our many similarities we, believers in Jesus Christ, tend to struggle with unity. We often become embroiled by our own opinions and pursuits that forget our common ground. We no longer walk in the unity that God ordained and therefore, lose sight of all the riches of His grace. But what was Paul’s exhortation and prayer for the Colossians? At the beginning of Colossians 2 he talks about how great a struggle he has for all the Gentile believers whom he has not met face to face, but why was Paul struggling and in constant prayer for these young Christians?