And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death...
And if your right hand leads you into sin, cut it off and throw it away—for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell.
Just to clarify right away, this is not actually talking about mutilating your body. I think it’s self-explanatory, but I just wanna make sure we’re on the same page. We are talking about removing the things in our life that are bad for us that cause us to sin and die a little each day.
What originally inspired me to look at the book of Colossians for these texts was the scripture we are about to go through. Back at the end of August I was reading some random scriptures and I came across this particular scripture and it seem like such a good thing to talk about. It jumped off the page at me. What’s interesting is that I don’t know why. The moment I read that scripture I could see exactly the best way to tackle it in a discussion, and it just was laid out in my front of me. And here we go…
Death is not a bad thing! In this case, death to our baser side is a very good thing. In order to grow, the things that halt our relationship and the things that keep us distracted from God must be shorn away. This is all about cutting out the things that come between us and God. It could be perfectly good things, but when we make those things more important than God then we have a problem. It’s about dying to ourselves. That’s how we live. I know it’s completely bonkers, but it is completely true. The more you drive the bus of your life, the more times you are going to crash that sucker and send everybody around you screaming because they’re on fire. We screwup, we hurt one another, we succumb to our darkest nature and deepest temptations. But, we have God and when He is our focus and when the Holy Spirit is guiding us and when Jesus is our all, then those things of earth that want to squeeze the life out of us fade away. We all have things that distract us. In reality, we are deep rivers of brokenness that have built up over a lifetime and we use our distractions to hide from that brokenness. But, God knows it all. He knows how to heal those scars and pains, and He knows how to love you through your mistakes. God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His only son to die for you so that all those things that want to drain the life from your soul, mind and heart are defeated so that you may live in Christ. We die to ourselves so that we can live in God’s glory and grace.
Talk to God about the things that you know are distracting you; the big and the little and everything in between. What have you set between you and God? Ask Him to reveal these truths about your life, and while you are at it, ask Him to help you heal from what is weighing you down now so that you may die to self and live anew.
"God created us for a relationship with him and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God."
I was five years old when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My parents sent me to Vacation Bible School that particular week and the teachers talked about inviting Jesus into my heart. That night I talked to my mom about it and she explained to five year old me what Jesus was all about. I asked her to pray with me. That was the first time I gave my life to God. I can’t necessarily say that I experienced God or felt like God was revealed to me in some blinding light, but I knew something in my life had changed, a focus, a purpose had arisen in me even at that tender young age. Throughout my childhood it’s very evident that I was seeking a deeper understanding of God. I wanted more of Him. I was the one that dragged my mother to church. I was reading the Bible and memorizing scripture and asking questions. I sincerely wanted to understand who God was. I’ve always believed, even before I accepted Jesus into my heart, that there was a God and I knew that He loved me. Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich explain it like this, “Some people at this stage clearly and completely experience God first through their senses…we simply experience the presence of God.” God revealed himself to me through my faith and by creating a connection. His presence was felt even without the aid of a talking donkey.
There are some amazing stories of those fantastical moments where Jesus appears and shakes everything with His presence (Daniel 3, Matthew 14, Acts 9). Each of these reveals something new about our Savior. But, I think one of the most important things to take from this is how personal and specific each of these incidents are. Jesus reveals Himself to each of us in a personal way. To me, it was simply letting me connect with Him and sense His presence in my life. For Paul it was blinding light. How did Jesus first show Himself to you? How does He continue to do that in your life? How have you encountered Christ in the past 24 hours? What is your story of God’s presence in your life? I truly want to know. How did you meet your Savior? How did you, when did you, and where did you accept Him into your heart? Maybe God has revealed Himself many times, and maybe you’re still on a journey seeking that moment. Open your heart and mind to Him now. Let Him show His heart for you. Whether it’s a big shake up or quiet and steady touch or some where in between, God has something incredible and intimate just for you!
The Bible is full of stories of encountering God, people experiencing and reacting to the ultimate realization.
Sometimes they worship:
Along the way, Jesus suddenly appeared in front of them and said, “Rejoice!” They were so overwhelmed by seeing him that they bowed down and grasped his feet in adoring worship.
Matthew 28:9 (TPT)
At other times they simply obey:
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Mark 1:17-18 (NLT)
There are those who weep:
Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
Luke 7:38 (NLT)
And those who ignore:
Excitedly, Mary told them, “He’s alive and I’ve seen him!” But even after hearing this, they didn’t believe her.
Mark 16:11 (TPT)