Read Colossians 3
It was my first day on the job. I had started a new position as a youth pastor and a mom came up to me before the worship service with her son and said, “This is my son. He is a Senior and he has given us all kinds of trouble. You have one year to help us get his behavior in order enough so we can send him to college without worrying what he will get himself in to.” What a way to meet someone. I responded the best I could in the moment, and eventually I formed a good relationship with both the mom and her son (who wasn’t nearly as bad as she had described in our first meeting BTW). While extreme, her request/command of me in that first meeting was reflective of the mindset some people have about what it means to be a Christian. For this mom, at least in the pit of frustration with her son, she hoped that a little religion would provide some helpful behavior modification. For her, it wasn’t so much about following Jesus it was about teaching her son to do the right thing first and then if he got to know Jesus, fine. But following Jesus isn’t just behavior modification lined with spirituality. As we follow Jesus one of the things that happens is we discover there are things in the way we have been living that, aware or not, were leading us deeper into brokenness. Jesus exposes those things in our lives, not so he can point a finger in judgement, but so he can restore the brokenness and lead us to a new life — one where those destructive forces no longer have power over us. We don’t behave our way into a relationship with Jesus. Instead, our relationship with Jesus teaches us how to live. Jesus gives us a whole new life and teaches us how to live differently than we did in our old one.
Colossians is a letter written by Paul to a Church community in the small city of Colosse. They were struggling to leave their old life behind to the point where the were incorporating questionable practices (pagan rituals) into their worship life. Some were also returning to destructive habits and practices in their personal lives, so Paul points them back to Jesus… so Jesus can once again lead them away from death and into life. He says,
1 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2 Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ– that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life– even though invisible to spectators– is with Christ in God. He is your life.
How can I fix my eyes on Jesus today? How might I embrace the new life he has given? What do I need to die to so I can know what it means to truly be alive? How can I get serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ?