Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. [NKJV]
We’ve been duped by our own wisdom to depend on personal strength of character and our “bootstrap” mentality as the secret to a successful life of faith…and everything else. Paul’s reality for us is very different from that human wisdom. I jotted sets of keywords as I often do and distilled them into this:
You were raised with Christ to seek those things where Christ is. Set your mind on things above with Christ in God who is your life. When He appears you also will appear with Him in glory.
The words I’d reassembled from Colossians became what reminded me of another variation of Paul’s wisdom from Henry Blackaby’s workbook “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.” “Find out where God is at work and join Him there.”
“You were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is…” Join Him there!
2 Samuel 11:1-5 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” [NKJV]
“While Joab is busy in laying siege to Rabbah, Satan is [laying seige] to David, and far sooner prevailed.” [Trapp]
God’s plan for marriage
The condition,1 the promise2 and the blessing.3
Genesis 2:24-25 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother.1 and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.2 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.3
The reality of the relationship…Deuteronomy 17:17a He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.
The evidence of accumulated sin…2Sa 3:2-5 Sons were born to David in Hebron: His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were born to David in Hebron.
News flash! Deceit and cover up from a position of power are not new and the consequences of sin are not normalized by repetition or by calling it by some gentler name. How does a nation deal with the complete moral failure of its leader? Consequences aren’t just a dismal surprise resulting from corrupt acts, they’re a given. Heart-breaking consequences were the result for a whole family and a whole nation as a result of the accumulated sins of the very king who had captured God’s own heart. Satan found a way to expose those accumulated sins into the tragic reality of consequences that included adultery, murder and death.
Here’s the Good News from 2 Samuel this Sunday: God did provide for the king’s heart to remember the grace of repentance and restoration that could forgive accumulated sins even in the midst of heart-breaking circumstances. That should sound familiar to our heart too. God has provided for our hearts to remember the grace of repentance and restoration we have through the death of another child, His own Son. Jesus, is God’s provision for our hearts to find repentance and restoration in every circumstance.
Colossians 1:25 …I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. [ESV]
Paul is quite clever in choosing the concept of “mystery” for his presentation of
the Gospel. Our interest is piqued by the elements of a mystery; who, what, where,
when and why. The Word has now been “revealed to his saints.“ That solution has made known “the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is…”
Christ [the who] in you [the where], the hope of glory [the what]
now revealed [the when]
that we may present everyone mature in Christ [the why]
The puzzle pieces are all there in the Gospel. They’re the same for every believer. The blessing of the mystery is revealed in the process of assembling the pieces. The shapes are similar because they’re designed to engage the heart, mind, soul and strength to discover the right piece that fits in the right place at the right time knowing the completed puzzle holds the reality of this promise…
Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory
2 Samuel 9:7 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” [NKJV]
2 Samuel is the work of [probably] more than one prophet speaking for God to a culture dominated by the struggle for power, senseless violence, emotional rebellion and constant conflict. That environment and the gruesome deaths of Saul and Jonathan are events that usher in this interchange between David and Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. I have struggled in earlier chapters of this book to see past the harsh realities it records to the connections that make 2 Samuel 9 a meaningful path to the New Testament and Christ. I understand Mephibosheth‘s caution. He knows only the fear he’s endured and it wasn’t good. Sometimes reading the Old Testament feels like endurance is the only connection because applications for finding faith in daily life are hard to come by.
This week as I gave my husband my synopsis of 2 Samuel 9 he asked me an important question: where’s Jesus? I couldn’t give an answer but I wanted one. David’s words, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father” probably seemed too good to be true to Mephibosheth but they sound very much like the words Jesus would speak. I found this commentary by Pastor David Guzik. [click to read]. Mephibosheth knew his security and safety were dependent on his need for the grace only the king could extend to him. Guzik finished his commentary with this.. “We are Mephibosheth…”
We are like Mephibosheth. We are dependent on recognizing our need for the grace of Jesus speaking those same words to us that David spoke “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father.” Recognizing need is where I found Jesus in 2 Samuel 9 this week.
The last couple of weeks I’ve been juggling studying Colossians with one group and 2 Samuel with another. It finally occurred to me I could combine each of these studies for my weekly blog posts. The blog is the priority of my heart and the contrast of those two studies is an either/or struggle for my brain. I hope dedicating more study time to each of them will allow me to discover connections between them that can change the perspective of my heart and brain into the reality of unity. So here goes…this Wednesday in Colossae.
Colossians is the work of a man who’s intent on not letting physical separation keep him from revealing the reality of Jesus Christ as God’s provision for the people of a culture he’s not really a part of that he’s never met in a city he’s never visited from a prison cell 1200+ miles away.
THAT is a run-on sentence Paul would admire. It also emphasizes his passion for Christ is all about perspective that doesn’t stop despite the piled-on nature of his own circumstances. He wrote Colossians to remind us that “perspective” can be our application. “You received Christ Jesus, the master; now live him.” The circumstances of life do not have to be a barrier to living the life we’ve received from Him.
Colossians 2:6 & 7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. [MSG]
Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. [NLT]
[Jesus] called you by His freedom of relationship act to show the world the reality of your “gratitude to God for your salvation with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love.
Humility is the
carryover word from Ephesians 4:2 and
my last post that led me to this quote. “Christians
did not invent humility as a virtue ― it is there
in the Hebrew scriptures already ― but Christian
scripture and subsequent Christian thought put humility at
the centre of the moral life in an unprecedented
way. Jesus apparently thought of humility as the best
measure of a person’s kingdom-readiness.”
Virtue that can unite us ”in the Spirit” and bind
”together with peace” only comes through
One glorious hope
One God and Father
– OF ALL – OVER ALL – IN ALL – LIVING THROUGH ALL –
Ephesians 4:1 So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], 2 with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love [not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person,] love. [AMP]
What is your calling? It’s an important question we need to answer. I think we’ve gotten caught up in the representation of our faith, our calling, being the right activity or service. The good things we do in the name of Jesus aren’t our calling, they’re the result of it. The right answer to “what is your calling” is simply the right relationship with the right person. Jesus is that right person. The intimacy of your relationship with Him is what makes it possible “to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation”…and you can thank God for that!
Jesus has been the learning curve of my life for 47 years now so I’ve had time to consider this idea. Jesus Himself is “the calling to which you have been called.” There is nothing of Himself He has withheld from you, and nothing, N-O-T-H-I-N-G Jesus doesn’t know about you. Still, you are the one He’s called. He’s called you by His freedom of relationship act to show the world the reality of your “gratitude to God for your salvation with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love”…and you can thank God for that too! ❤️