So, anywho, we have 5 days of homework per week ("home pleasure" as Gari would say). I was working on day 1 for week 2 yesterday and just thought I would share some thoughts on what God is teaching me (mainly for my own clarification.)
We were to reflect on Colossians 3:1-17. The topic of the week is "numbing", i.e. desensitizing areas of spiritual/emotional hunger. Using food, alcohol, men, shopping, control, etc. to cope with a deeper hunger that is not being fulfilled.
As I was reading the Scripture I was gripped by verses 2 through 4:
"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
God spoke straight into my heart, "You have died. Your life is hidden with Christ in God."
I pictured myself being buried (hidden) and then being resurrected. Not resurrected in my body but resurrected through the body of Christ. I am not raised up as myself, I am raised up in Christ! I live through Him. He is my identity and I am hidden in Him. All I do, all I say is through Him, for Him, by Him. I have no identity of my own. I am Christ's and wholly His.
Now I know, this culture rebels against the idea of belonging to anyone else, obeying anyone besides self or gaining our identity by or through anything other than our own achievement. But let me ask you, how's that working out for you?
We want to be recognized. We want to be affirmed. We want to be acknowledged for our work. We want someone to tell us they know all that we're doing and appreciate it. Who do you think put that desire in your heart? I'll tell you who. The same One who is the only One who can fully satisfy those desires. And recognition will come... at the right time.
"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
We will be revealed with Christ! Can you even imagine? When Christ comes in all His glory the entire world will see we are with Him and we will have glory that He gives us. Glory from Jesus! Tell me, is there a higher place of praise? Is there anyone who could give you glory that even comes close to the glory of Jesus. No, my friend. There is not. His glory is worth waiting for!
Verse 5 says, "Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to impurity, passion, evil desire and greed."
Our earthly bodies have died and are buried. And yet, how many times are we trying to resurrect the dead? It reminds me of the movie Weekend at Bernie's. Those two guys are lugging poor, dead Bernie around all weekend because they want the benefits the privilege of being his guest provides (use of home, pool, beach-front property, status, etc.) They are pretending what is dead is alive because they think the dead has benefits. When these desires sprout up in us: impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, we have to remind ourselves that the part of us that took part in those things is dead and buried. We need to leave them in the grave.
v. 7 says, "in them you once walked..." We walked "in" those things - like stepping into full length gown or an overcoat, we were all up in those things! However, the part of us that participated in them, once we profess Jesus as our LORD and Savior, is dead and buried.
v. 8 "But now you also put them all aside..." We take these things off and lay them aside like last year's fashions - they are not worth being seen in.
v. 9 "Do not lie to each other since you laid aside the old self..." You know a friend is a true friend when they tell you an outfit just isn't working or that your new haircut isn't all that cute. True friends don't let friends walk around carrying the dead. Here's a conversation from my head: "Girl, that bitterness is so last year! You know Beth Moore wouldn't be caught dead wearing that. Why don't we try on some forgiveness? Wow! That is really flattering on you!"
v. 10 "...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (her)."
OK, stick with me here. Are you familiar with the cable show, Bridal Plasty? It's a profane show where all these brides compete to win plastic surgery so they will be "perfect" on their wedding day. This show is wrong on so many levels but ironically, it is a really crude example of sanctification. We are the Bride of Christ. Each day we breathe is a preparation day for THE wedding day. We are readying ourselves for Him, on the inside. The difference between TV and reality is that He has already done all the work and paid all the cost - we just have to allow the scalpel of the Holy Spirit to cut away all that has already died (bitterness, envy, immorality, impurity, evil desire, etc). In Him, we are all winners! He is perfecting us from the inside out but we have to cooperate with His work. Unfortunately, we more often resemble the bride of Frankenstein than the Bride of Christ. We carry around deadness we just can't seem to let go of. Though the old is gone and the new is come we cling to the old, we tie it around our neck like a scarf, we carry it on our arm like a Coach bag (we accessorize with it, right Gari? ;-) because it is what we know. We cling to it because it is what we have used to get by for so long; the bitterness, the sarcasm (ouch!), the anger, the controlling, the numbing - they've been what we've used to get through some pretty tough stuff. Granted, we never made it through unscathed. We've got some pretty ugly scars. These "accessories" often brought more pain than they prevented but they are what we know.
That's why I love verse 10! "We are being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created her."
We are being renewed to a true knowledge! The old adage: "What she doesn't know won't kill her" couldn't be more wrong. Girlfriend, what you don't know is killing you! But Christ is renewing us to a true knowledge. Back to verse 2, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." There is a way of living that is truly living! (see vv 12-17) Life is hard. Our tendency is to run and hide. God knew this about us and created the safest, holiest place ever for us to run into: Himself!
v. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
If you're going to hide (and we all do), hide in Him! And when you do you will find that you are truly living!
John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth and the life" (the true and living way!)"no one comes to the Father but through Me."