The deepest seat of our deepest emotions

When our “hearts” (which is our English way of describing an ancient concept of the “deepest seat of our deepest emotions”) belong to Christ, there is such wonderful, beautiful change.

Paul describes it in Colossians 3:12-17.

When Christ rules the deepest seat of my deepest emotions, anger is shoved away and love takes its place. Bitterness is crushed and compassion flows in its place. No more resentment. Out flows mercy and kindness.

Let my life be filled with his glory and lived for his glory.

When we don’t trust the unity that is in Christ

When we don’t trust the unity that is in Christ, we default into manipulation. We manipulate through legalism or hyper-spirituality. We need to trust the One in whom all things hold together.

16 So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. 17 These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. 18 Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. 19 They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God. (Col. 2:16-19)

What do you treasure?

In all of our searching, and it all of the noise trying to distract us in this world, there is one place we can come back to:

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. (Col. 2:3)

Treasure Christ. In all pursuits, know he is the source and HE is the treasure.

He is the treasure that can never be exhausted.

 

Praying the prayers of Paul over people

There are times when I need more than, “Lord, just bless them,” as I pray for people.

There are needs to pray for in people’s lives, to be sure, but there are BLESSINGS to pray into people’s lives as well.

Colossians 1:9-14 has a beautiful prayer to pray on behalf of others. I have found it to be a great guide in truly asking for something a bit deeper than “just bless them.”

Am I praying for someone that they may be filled with the knowledge of his will? I am praying for spiritual wisdom, along with understanding, in their lives?

Am I asking that they live lives fully pleasing to the Lord (and not to me)? Do I ask the Lord to strengthen them with ALL power? (Or, do I want to have slightly more power and recognition than them?)

I have a hunger to pray blessing into the lives of others and ask they be filled with ALL that God can give them.

 

Centered in on Christ

Colossians 3 is a great passage for spiritual formation. The “nuts and bolts” of living life in Christ are here. Spiritual formation helps us center in on what is essential.

Center to our lives is where we fix our gaze. It is Christ. It is Christ exalted.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:1-3, NIV)

What we desperately need in our day is having our lives centered on TRUTH. We are dead to the old life and in Christ we have our lives folded into a new reality. That is truth.

This is the essential necessity of the Word of God. We need the the written Word leading us to the Living Word.

Our exercise of saturating ourselves with the Word by reading the New Testament this summer is vital. We must understand who we are , and there is no better way to do that than be centered in on the Word of God.

Live in truth. It will indeed set you free.

You are DEAD… and That is Good News!

Before there was a TV show about hoarders, I lived it. Well, I didn’t personally live it. My dad was in business and some customers he dealt with were in that category long before there was a TV show. Too bad those folks died so many years ago, those TV producers would have LOVED them!

Before there was the TV show, there was Mr. and Mrs. West. I will say there was a Mr. West. I never met him. I think he got lost in one of the houses. Maybe a pile of stuff fell on him. Rumors abound.

By the time I was introduced to them, they were living in their second house. It was next door to their first house. The first house had become completely full of stuff and so they bought the house next door and promptly filled it up. My dad worked on their TV and there was no way in the world he was going out there to work on it in the home. There was no way in the world he was going out there to pick it up. He sent me and another employee out.

The TV was not hard to find. There was only one skinny path from the front door. You followed that and you found the TV. At the front door entrance there were stairs going up to a second story. Those were completely covered with stacks of newspapers and magazines. Obviously, the upstairs was completely crammed full of junk. We followed the narrow path through the hall piled to the ceiling with more newspapers and magazines. The path then led us into what had been a living room at one time. The path went by a couch that had two small spaces for people to sit in. Every other square inch on it and around it was consumed with junk.

The coffee table would have been piled higher with junk, but then it would have blocked the view to the TV.

We got the TV as fast we possibly could and high-tailed it out.

When the Wests finally died, it took about three days of auctions to get rid of the stuff in both of those houses.

Hoarding in the physical realm is very much like spiritual hoarding. The problem is we don’t identify spiritual hoarding very well. It’s not as noticeable.

There are various triggers for a person to start hoarding. I can’t possibly dive into those causes, but what I do know is sometimes we have a sense of, “I just can’t throw this away. I may need it.”

There is also a sense, from time to time, that we think something is “valuable” or could one day be valuable. So, we keep it. It ends up being what it was all along: JUNK.

Spiritually, it’s the same thing.

Colossians 3 calls us higher. It calls us to set our sights on the Beautiful One: Jesus. Yet, we have so much JUNK in our lives, we think IT is treasure!

That’s why Paul says the old life has to be put to death. I looked that up in the Greek. Know what it means? It means put to death. It means kill it. Herein lies the rub: we like our junk. We think how things are right now are so wonderful and so much “God” that we have lost all sense of reality.

So, we don’t let go. We focus on JUNK rather than true TREASURE, and we are weak. We are spiritual blobs. We are spiritual hoarders. We think we have the “good life” or something… and all we have is junk.

Colossians 3 is one of the great chapters dealing with the need for spiritual formation. It demonstrates so well our need to have our “programming” re-written. We have settled for so little!

What we need to realize is that we are DEAD when we are truly in Christ. And that is GOOD news!

In the old movie Cool Runnings, there was the question Derese would ask Sanka: “Sanka, are you dead, mon?”

We need to realize we SHOULD be dead… in Christ we ARE dead… and this indeed good news!

 

What Happens When We Dwell?

Colossians 3:16,17: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When we are feasting on the word of Christ, when Christ is truly dwelling in us…RICHLY… there is a great dynamic about coming together. We come ready to share. We come ready to worship, to FEAST. There is a song in our hearts.

Imagine a great potluck where everyone comes with their finest dishes. They have anticipated coming together, so they have spent time putting together fabulous dishes that will add to the potluck. They are excited about sharing those recipes and seeing the delight on people’s faces when they taste that food! These are people who have learned how to cook and when a potluck is called, everyone eats well!

Now imagine a potluck that is called but even the good cooks don’t prepare. The week got busy. They were rushed. They forgot there was a potluck.

Maybe they prepared a great dish last time and people kind of turned their noses up at it. Maybe they worked hard and everyone else brought Doritos. So they think, “Why bother?”

Or, imagine a potluck where no one is ready. No one has any idea how to cook. One person brings a bag of chips. Another brings a 2 liter of Pepsi. There are 20 people.

When we come together… are we ready? Is the feast of the Lord truly in us? Do we understand that our presence at a worship service should ADD to that time? We have a feast prepared if we are dwelling in the Word of Christ.

But too often we think of church as a full service restaurant. We come in and WE are to be served. Someone else prepares the meal, and we don’t care HOW they prepared it. So what if they used illegal immigrants! If the food tastes good, so what?

We come to church and look to be “wowed.” We WANT to be spoon fed. Why should WE prepare?

That is not really a place of joy or long-lasting abundance. It might be a hot night at the local bar or a great meal at an expensive restaurant we can afford once in a blue moon. But it’s not abundance.

Come to the feast. Bring your best. Dwell richly in the Word of Life. Share it with others. Watch abundance flow.