Daily Update #358

“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.   When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (N.IV.)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
It is nineteen and a half weeks since we celebrated Easter!    What a lot has happened in our Church, our Nation and in the World since that lovely crisp sunny morning as we gathered in the open air to rejoice in the annual reminder of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.     

Chapter 3 of Colossians begins by reminding us of Jesus’ resurrection.    For a resurrection to happen, of course there has to be a death.   Easter is celebrated against the back-drop of all the horror around Jesus’s death on the cross.     
Similarly, for Christians, who have been promised a wonderful resurrection in Christ, there has to have been a death preceding it.    As we have been considering in Chapter 2, before Christ WE were dead!   Not physically, but spiritually we were lifeless because of sin.   As Mike explained yesterday, unhelpful religious practises didn’t help the situation.  

Jesus, on the cross did all that was necessary for our salvation.    As He was raised from the dead, so in a spiritual sense are we.    We have confidence in the forgiveness of our sins and are set free from the past.

 As well as looking forward to eternity spent with Christ, and the joy of seeing again our Christian brothers and sisters who have gone before us, there is also a present implication.      Because of Easter everything has changed.   We have New Life in the here and now.    

For change to take place our cooperation is needed.     We must choose to enter into our New Life.   Rather like throwing away old clothing the trappings of our Old life must be left behind.  Entering into Christ is like putting on a new set of clothing.   No longer should we be swayed by the values and opinions of this world.   He is our new director.    As Jesus died before being raised, so we have to die to the old sinful ways.   If not we are still in darkness.  

Paul spells out two areas – our hearts and our minds.  Our emotions and our rational thinking determine all our actions before they take place.   If our hearts are truly set on Christ and His values, everything else will take second place to Him, seen in their right perspective and ready to be sacrificed if needed.
The treasures of this world may not be wrong in themselves, but our emphasis on them may be….the good opinion of other people,  a spotless home, perfect children, exiting exam results – are all good things in themselves, but if they are our ultimate goal something important is missing.

In a rather uncomfortable passage during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:19-21) He warned His followers not to “store up treasures on earth”….”for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

The source of our new life is not in external things, be they distorted religious rituals, material things etc., but hidden from view – in Christ Himself.  People are sometimes surprised by our reaction to situations because they cannot see where we are coming from!   We have power and purpose within us of which people outside of God’s Kingdom have no understanding.

We look forward to the time when we are completely changed into His likeness and share fully in His glory.
It is always worth spending time in self-reflection……
What is our goal?   What are our dreams?    Where we are going with our lives?    Do these things serve God and His Kingdom, or are our lives completely spent in serving them?   
“Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine:
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.”
(Frances R. Havergal, 1878)