No Earthly Good

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

The actual logic of Paul’s argumentation here would suggest that this passage begin with “SINCE you have been raised…”

Nonetheless, there is a sequential conditional element present here that must be considered: We died, we were raised, act like it.

I am still trying to learn what it means to “seek the things which are above;” to “seek first the kingdom of God…” (Matt. 6:33)

How do I “set my mind on things above” without coming across as a flake, or ‘super-spiritual?’ I have not been able to straddle the middle road that keeps me from being “so heavenly-minded that I am no earthly good.”

After years of trying–and discovering to my chagrin that I had become so earthly-minded that I was no heavenly good–I am about ready to give up trying. The only way I can be of any good to this realm is by way of the heavenly.

I see a world crushed under the weight of its current problems–economic, health, mental, social, and spiritual–and I see a Church poorly equipped to speak to these problems. I am a part of that Church.

My mind is on the things of the earth–poverty, sickness, disease, corruption, wickedness in every place. I see the devastation in Haiti, and am ashamed of the untimely and insensitive remarks of some of our church leaders.

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

I have failed in this. Maybe it is because I have not learned what it means to “put off…put on”, as Paul admonishes us in this chapter. I am to put off the deeds of the flesh, the things that I had no problem doing before I knew the Lord (or rather was known by Him). Thought I had done that. And then some ugly thing rears its head to let me know how far from His perfection I am.

I am to put on a compassionate heart, kindness and humility, meekness and patience (v.12). Thought I had done that. And then I find myself entertaining some judgmental thought toward someone when I have no idea the burdens they might be bearing, and I realize how far from His perfection I am.

The only reality I am left with is that “I have died, and my life is hidden with Christ in God.” When that fully penetrates my mind, maybe I will become a little more earthly good.

NOTE: This is the third in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Colossians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter three of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Love Gives

1 Jn 4:10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.       KJV

John, the Apostle of Love gives us a good description of love in this verse. It is something that we can apply to our own life as we try to incorporate the aspects of love from 1 Corinthians 13.

There is a major key here, that John also gives us in his gospel:

Jn 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,…   KJV

Notice–love is not manifest because one first feels loved.

No.

Love is.

Period.

There are no conditions.

God loved us BEFORE we were capable of any kind of real love. All God got from us was animosity, doubt, or negligence. But He loved us. He showed that love to us by giving.

God loved the world (us) when it (we) were totally incapable of demonstrating love in any form. We were totally unworthy of that love. There was nothing that we did or could do to earn that love.

That is the beauty of ‘agape’ love. It just is.

Why do you love me?

Agape responds, “Because.”

There is no reason sufficient that will answer the question of “why?’. Agape is. Love is.

God is love.

We are in God, and we are in that love. And, we are to be that love to a lost and dying world.

Do we wait until someone does something that deserves our love? NO.

Love them now. Don’t wait.

How?

One of the aspects of love (1 Cor. 13) is kindness. So, for today, focus on kindness. Show (give) some kindness.

Make it your ambition to demonstrate a kindness to someone you do not know. Be on the lookout today to be kind to a stranger for no other reason than that you know that God loves them right now, just the way they are.

Then, come back here and tell us your experience.

The Spirit-led life vs. natural man continued

Col 3:1-15

3 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (author’s emphasis added)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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      Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, and actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit, His Spirit leading our spirit, ever in tune with Him.

Setting our minds above, not below, raises us “above the land of earthly disputes and focus(es) us on our Father,” knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him.

Not filled with”anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language,” all these tear down.   But clothed in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,”–these build up.

When the logs of discord, be they from memory or present, come by you in the sream of life, let them pass.  Recognize them, the feelings, the events, the words, the actions, but let them pass on by. Don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption with them, then live in it.  It becomes a prison of your own making.  Christ set the captive free.  Let the logs go by and reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Therefore, you can express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for he raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.