Be still and rest in the Lord.
Colossians 3:1-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
So if 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 earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
As a parent, you want the best for your kids. If we are honest we don’t know what the best is, but we want it for them. I recently had a talk with one of my youngins about going back and finishing college. He said, “I want to, I know its right, I know it would make me a better person, I know its what I should do, but its alot of work and I’m scared I will flounder away again.”
I responded, “That’s fair. It is scary, and it’s fair to say you will have to work extremely hard now that you have your own apartment and bills you will have to work and go to school. The only way you will be able to overcome your fear is to be so passionate about what you want, that your passion overcomes what you don’t want.”
I long to be holy. I have tried for many years to become better than I am. Paul has an uncanny ability to expose my worst self. Every time I read Paul’s writings I find myself in the naughty list. I find out that according to Paul I am an earthly type of guy. Yet one of the graces I have found in Scripture is the inner conflict of Paul in Romans 7. In fact, if it weren’t for Romans 7 I would consider Paul a liar and a hypocrite. Paul, however, left us with an account of his shortcomings and his struggle with becoming Christlike. Romans 7:14-15 “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
This verse is me! Over the years I have tried to discipline myself to be the greatest Christian ever. My will power fades, my strength drains, and it feels whatever gains I had made are lost. Yet I press on and like Paul end up saying “Who can save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
So what do we do? I think this passage helps us to understand. Paul is telling us to set our mind on things above. In other words, become so wrapped up with heavenly things that our passion for God and the heavenly life becomes so intense that the things of this world become strangely dim. Our passion for heaven must be greater than our passion for earth and its desires. Every great vision takes much work and many failures, but it is our fixing our mind and heart on Jesus and the heavenly vision that keeps us going, no matter our failures and fears! We fall, we get right back up and keep chuggin along all the while knowing Christ Jesus has won this battle.
God, in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, You have decreed that those who belong to you will be with You in Paradise. You have promised that the good work in us will be completed. Remind us each and every day of these promises so that our vision of things to come are greater than our present state. Amen.
Go with God!