Lately when I spend time in the Word, I am interested in specific instruction on how to live in these days of chaos and division in our world. I hear of condemnations as well as justifications for destructive, harmful, and deadly actions. I have been praying through Colossians and I gleaned four actions that I think provide a foundation of living in these days.
#1 Remember where we came from and have grace on others.
Colossians chapter 1, verses 21-22 says, “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
As my mentor used to say, we are GLORIOUS RUINS, stained by sin and broken, but covered by the glorious blood of Jesus. We are redeemed and headed to eternity in heaven. We all are in need of a Savior. When we remember this, we remember our own brokenness and how just as Jesus gave us grace, we need to give grace to others as well.
#2 Develop a heart of thankfulness and keep a heavenly, eternal view of life, as opposed to a temporary, earthly view.
Colossians 2:6-7 “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
A relationship with Christ is a circle of thankfulness. Once we recognize our sinfulness and a need for a Savior, we are thankful for Christ and for his sacrifice for us. As we continue to choose to follow Him, we see who He is and what he has done, is doing, and will do which produces even more thankfulness. This heart change in us moves us to take our eyes off earthly things and put them on the reality of heaven. We become more like Him, full of the fruit of the Spirit, forgiving, loving, peaceful and thankful. We will be irresistible representatives of Jesus.
#3 Pray for the opportunity to share Jesus with our lives and words and for God to prepare the hearts and minds of those we share with. These next verses need no explanation.
Colossians 4:5-6 “Live wisely among those who are not believers and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
We can do this by what Colossians 4:2 tells us to do:
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
#4 Remain present. We keep learning how to communicate more effectively and confidently with enemies of Christ.
We don’t run from the voices of chaos.
We engage in conversation and ask stimulating, relevant questions.
We listen. We take the opportunity to share Christ’s love, peace and salvation.
We live our normal everyday lives with wisdom, prayer, thankfulness and a readiness to share the grace and love of Jesus Christ with one of his enemies, one just like you and I used to be.
Colossians reminds me that my hope is in heaven. Having hope in anything or anyone but the God of heaven is meaningless. Colossians 2 says that there will be empty philosophies and nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world. By God’s grace, Word and Spirit I can see that the world is very dark right now, but in just my everyday living, I can be light in the darkness.
To do so involves the following:
– a growing relationship with God
– an immersion in his Word
– a heart of thankfulness for what he has and can do
– an active prayer life
– presence in the lives of those who embrace empty philosophies instead of the hope of eternal life with God in heaven
– stimulating, relevant and grace-filled conversation with those who are enemies of Christ.
After thinking through all of this, I looked at my heart and came up with the following four reasons why I fall short of those actions:
I can be apathetic.
I feel inadequate.
I am prideful.
I am a sinner in need of a Savior!