In our church, whoever preaches the sermon then writes a little devotional to follow up the teaching from Sunday. Here is my sermon and the devotional that follows.
ENCOUNTER: Read Colossians 3:1-17
It takes a brave and mature soul to be quiet and reflect on what might have to die in order to more fully run after Jesus. This passage of scripture helps spur us along. There is quite a list to choose from: Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying.
Would you be willing to simply be quiet for a second and ask God what on this list is a little too rooted in your life, what is some habit or sin that is feeding your flesh and squelching the Holy Spirit?
I love this passage of scripture because if you read it closely, Paul gives us a picture of how to move forward in the process of sanctification. It is a three part process. And it is very similar to the process you already have in place every morning.
Think of it this way, you are dirty and you want to be clean and start your day. The process is simple, you take off your dirty clothes, hop in the shower and clean your body, then put on new clothes that are appropriate for the task in front of you.
It would be awkward to take off your dirty clothes and head into work naked, even if you were clean. And it doesn't make sense to put on your nice work clothes over your dirty clothes and body. In order to be fully ready for your day, you have to do all three steps.
1) In the exact same way, Paul invites us to take off, die to our flesh, our sin, the parts of our life and life style that are opposed to the kingdom of God and harden our heart.
2) When we confess our sin, take off our clothes we hope in the shower where we cleanse our body by putting on the new self by renewing our mind. (How cool that we are investing in some major scripture reading this summer so that God's word is the thing that shapes our world view and our understanding of God and of our selves.)
3) Then after we are clean we put on our new clothes, clothes that resemble Christ. We intentionally put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, and love.
When we are clothed in Christ and reflect His values, we are able to run after all that God has for us to do and be for His glory and His Kingdom!
What is it that you need to die to? Chances are this is something that you not only need to die to, but to crucify, to do the hard work of cutting this out of your life. Spend some time confessing your sin and asking for God's help in killing this part of your flesh.
What informs your self understanding? Your understanding of God? What directs your moral and vocational compass? What would it look like to have God's word speak into those topics?
If you could get your head around that you have new clothes, what do you think God wants to do in and through you as you are dressed for success? What is an item of "clothing" that you need the Holy Spirit to come alive in you today?
BE A BLESSING:
You are called to have a life marked by: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, and love. When you do, who in your life will be the biggest beneficiary?
How can you leverage your influence for the Kingdom of God in your little corner of the world? How can the clothing of Christ inform how you are to follow Christ with the people in your life?
This only works when we intentionally deal with our flesh and sinful nature. This is so uncool and nobody wants to do the hard work of dealing with it. But if we are going to be all that God longs for us to be, then we must pick up our cross. And, really, the best way to actually pull this off is by inviting someone to join you in this process. Who can you confess your sins and be healed. (James 5:16)