Study from God’s Word… Both Letters to Colossians and to Philemon, written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome … Passage for Reflection: Colossians 3: 1 – 2 … NIV 1 Since, then [upon receiving Christ as Lord; see Col. 2: 6], you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
My Journal for Today: The third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in and around Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, delivered by Epaphrus, who had been a missionary there, is very edifying and convicting for me. It speaks, as Dr. Smith brings out in his devotional today, of moving from lower, worldly, values, which, before Christ, we lived so easily as non-Christians; and moving to the higher, Godly values which come so challengingly to Christian living. As it is depicted in Colossians 3, it is “putting off” the old and “putting on” the new. It is moving from the lower, sin-directed life to the higher, Savior-directed life.
And Paul writes to these Christians in Asia-Minor (and to us), when we die to self, we must be raised to the newness which is life in Christ, which is the life unto which we witness in Baptism, being raised from the depths of sinfulness to a life of victory and freedom in Christ. Dr. Smith, challengingly asks much the same question of his readers (i.e., me today), ”Just how high has my spiritual life soared since I first died to sin and rose to a new life in Christ?”
I don’t know about you; but, bragging only about my surrender to God’s Spirit, this born-again believer [i.e., yours truly], has become a poster boy for the life exhorted by Paul in Colossians 3, or perhaps also 2nd Cor. 5: 17, which I hope you have deeply implanted in your heart’s memory. Let me quote it from my NKJV memory verse: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
What about you? Have you put on the newness, which is available to any born-again Christian, by receiving and “putting on,” by God’s enabling grace, the new Spirit-empowered life provided by your Savior and Lord? Anybody who really knew the Bill Berry, BC (i.e., before Christ), would testify to observing an angry atheist who was deeply involved in obsessive/compulsive sexual sin. But those who now know the Bill Berry, AC (i.e., after dying to self and being raised again in Christ), will give witness to a man driven (by God’s Spirit) to obsessively and compulsively know and serve The Lord. Yes, …, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new
So, in doing my self-directed, God-inspired, inventory today, I ask myself (and you ask yourself), “Am I daily moving higher and higher in mind and spirit, putting on the newness Who is Christ, and setting aside the lower, corrupted self, unto which I must choose daily to die?” Or, “am I holding on to the old, sin-driven self, which goes lower and lower as I choose self over Savior?”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, today I choose to die to me and put on You. Amen