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Daily Distinctives, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015

Daily Reading:

[Col 2:6 NKJV]
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

[Col 2:7 NKJV]
rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

[Col 2:8 NKJV]
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

[Col 2:9 NKJV]
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

[Col 2:10 NKJV]
and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Daily Distinctive:

I can’t say how many times I have read the WORD of God from cover to cover, but it has been many. Each time I read through the Scriptures the LORD reveals new things to me that I might have overlooked in a precursory reading of the passages. And so for my devotional today, I thought that I would go over another familiar passaged of Scripture. This time through, I pray that the LORD would enlighten me to His truth and reveal something to me that is relevant for today under my current circumstances. That is the beauty of the WORD of God; it is useful in all seasons of life. And so here we go. Thanks for joining me.

[Col 2:6 NKJV]
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

As I read this verse it is another call to get back to the basics of my faith. Do you remember when you first gave your life to the LORD. For me I remember several distinct points of surrender in my own life. I have heard some who say they have had a single experience with the LORD and were so profoundly changed by the experience that they were never the same. Still when I look at the lives of many of these same people, I don’t see anything different. What I do notice is that they are changing just like I am every day. I know there was a defining moment for me too, but I have had so many “God” experiences in my life, I can scarcely nail down one single event that I could say with absolute certainty that I was saved from that point forward. Many would doubt my salvation because of this. But I am certain that I have a saving relationship with Jesus because I know I am not the man that I used to be. Far from it. I have the Spirit of God in me and it is evidenced by the fruit in my life. Now there will always be detractors and naysayers who look at a persons life for all of the bad and ignore completely the sanctifying work of the LORD in another persons life. I tend to look for the best in people, knowing that if they have indeed given their lives to the LORD that He will continue sanctifying that person. I know that everyone who is saved is on a personal journey with the LORD. But as for me, all I have to go on is my own relationship with Him.

And according to this verse, I am to walk with the LORD just as I have received Him. I look back over my own life and I see how the LORD has moved in me and has brought me closer to Him. When I was a younger believer, I depended upon Him for everything. I could not get enough of His WORD, and I would listen to teaching all day long on the radio, and go to church every time the doors were opened. I think that this is a reminder that I should continue doing the very same things that I did when I was a young believer.

[Col 2:7 NKJV]
rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

The thing about roots is that they are very necessary to establish a foundation for a plant or tree. It is from the roots that nutrients and life-giving water are received to nourish the entire organism. And so to be rooted in Christ is to build up those fundamental practices of the faith which include: prayer, time in the WORD, devotional times, and service. It is in these things that we are grounded in our faith. When we practice our faith by applying His WORD to our lives we are established in the faith. In order for us to be established we must be disciplined in these facets of our walk. We have teachers that teach us the WORD of God, the interpretation and the application. It is our responsibility to take what we have learned and live it out, being thankful to God who is the supplier of all of our spiritual nourishment.

[Col 2:8 NKJV]
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

I have come to grips that where I am is where I first must be. The LORD is doing a work in my life and it is according to His will and purpose, for His glory and my edification. The hard fact is that it is on His time table. I am not the most patient guy, but to look back on my own spiritual journey you would think that I had the patience of Job. Still, there are those who I encounter who will try to downplay my faith by citing worldly wisdom, traditions of old, and even contemporary traditions to suggest that my line of reasoning in the faith is somehow wrong. Still I recognize that these are the same basic principles of the world that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for. If there is a biblical premise for something and someone can reason from Scriptures why I should or should not do something, then I have a responsibility to compare it to Scripture myself and see if it is so. Just like the Berean’s did when Paul came to them in the Book of Acts. They readily received the WORD but compared it to the Scriptures to see if it was so.

Legalism and dogmatism are the enemies of my spirit. I know that there are well meaning, good intentioned people who try to “help” by offering their opinions. They will cite the order of the world, the way that people do things now, and even church tradition to make their case, but then when you agree to disagree agreeably over not salvational issues you start to see their true colors come out. Often time the results are hostile. But I have learned that God is the One who will bring to light the truth of all matters and will justify the righteous and condemn the unrighteous.

[Col 2:9 NKJV]
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

My aim as a believer in Christ is to submit to the authority of Jesus and walk according to His WORD and His precepts and teaching. As a believer I have the WORD of God as my reference and the Spirit of God in me as my guide. I know that in Jesus alone is the fullness of God. I trust in Him to guide me, preserve me, teach me, correct me, and grow me in His image. I am in Christ. Now, I have not mastered the art of Jesus. In other words, I have not yet arrived. In fact, I know the reality is that I am still very far from perfection. Still, I am being perfected and I continue on as long as He gives me breath of life to seek out the way that He would have me go. And so I find it hard to swallow when someone who has the same proclivities that I have to sin approaches me with a plank in their eye. What I need to learn is to show them grace and not become argumentative. My tendency is to open up Scripture and tell them “how the cow ate the cabbage,” so to speak. But what profit is there in that. I think the LORD is teaching me humility in this season of my life. How not to be offended by offensive people and offensive words and actions. And I am cool with that. Because I understand that is where the LORD has me now. There are seasons for everything and every purpose under heaven. What I am learning and am leaning on is that Jesus is the author of my sanctification and I need only trust in Him.

[Col 2:10 NKJV]
and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

What a joyous statement. I am complete in Him. There is nothing in and of myself that completes me. No the only way that I can experience the fullness of sanctification is by being in Christ. As He persistently conforms me into His image, the old man dies away and what is left is a spiritual man, a new creation in Christ. Every single day the LORD is drawing me towards the “true me,” the “me” that He intended from before the foundations of the world. I just feel sorry for those around me who have to deal with me until He finishes His work.

But to know that I am complete in the One who is the Master of the Universe is something else! I don’t have to worry about the hurtful things that people say and do because I am secure in Christ my LORD. So the next time I feel discouraged, or overwhelmed by the onslaught of attacks that I face on a regular basis, the challenges to my faith, the hurtful discouraging words of sinners and saints alike, I need only look to Jesus who is my redeemer and my perfecter, and rest in the knowledge of who I am in Christ. It is from this viewpoint that I am better equipped to respond in a righteous way. Showing love and giving deference to others.

Daily Muse:

I remember an old country western song that went, “Oh LORD, it’s hard to be humble, when your perfect in every way.” It was meant to be a funny song, but the reality is that for most of us we live in our own little world, and the things that come along as others lives intertwine with our own are secondary. Now, I am not a narcissist (in the traditional sense of the word) but I am quite selfish. It is a dichotomy of sorts because I would give anything to anyone, but at the same time I enjoy spending time alone and doing my own thing. That is hard to do when I am surrounded by 8 other people in my immediate family! It is hard to engage in things that others like. For example, I don’t much care for cartoons any more, but my kids love them. I don’t like to do house cleaning and cook, but my wife lives for it. I am not into video games, but my older kids devour them. I am not into rap and hip hop music but my oldest daughter is consumed with it.

What I was hoping for is common ground. I thought that the WORD of God would be that common ground, that church would be a central and common theme that we could all relate to together. But even that presents challenges in my family dynamic. God knows my heart regarding these things and so I will trust in Him to bring us to that place where we can all come together under His banner. But I think that much of it is dependent upon me and my need to humble myself before others and enter their worlds so that I can relate to them and introduce them to mine.

Daily Prayer:

LORD, I know that Your hand is upon me. I pray for peace and restoration tonight for my own life first and for the lives of those around me. I trust that You are behind all of the circumstances of late and so I am trusting and leaning on You  concerning the matters. You are good and true, faithful and righteous LORD and I need You more and more every day. Thank You for saving me and giving me a new life. I thank You that You are doing a work in me that is unique to me and that when You are through I will be a powerhouse for Your kingdom. Use me LORD according to Your will and purpose for me. Here I am LORD. I love You and praise Your name. It is in Your name that I pray.   -Amen

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