Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...getting down to specifics

One of my favorite cartoons as a child was PEANUTS, you know with Charlie Brown, Linus, Luci, Snoopy and the gang. There is one cartoon episode that I remember where Linus tells Charlie Brown that he wants to be a doctor. Charlie Brown responds by telling Linus that he couldn't be a good doctor because he doesn't love humanity. I love the response of Linus...

"I love humanity! ...It's PEOPLE I can't stand!"

What a great reminder to me that when we talk about things in general, how easy it is to agree to any set of principles. But what happens when it comes to the specifics? Linus, in general, loved humanity but it was specifically the people he didn't like.

So far in our study of Colossians, Paul has been speaking mostly about generalities...

  1. walking in a worthy manner
  2. reconciliation
  3. holding to the faith we have been taught
  4. keeping God as our head
But as we go further into our study of the book of Colossians, we see Paul giving specific instructions to the Christians of Colossae:

  • avoid sexual immorality
  • impurity
  • lust
  • evil desire
  • greed
Sometimes it is the "specifics" that can be the "rubber that meets the road" when it comes to walking in a worthy manner of the Lord.

We live in a society that makes it such a hard challenge because our culture is greatly obsessed with the very behaviours and attitudes that we, as Christians, are suppose to be avoiding. Living in the midst of such oppression and failure, we need a source of hope and help.

COLOSSIANS 3:1,2 "So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on earth."

The source of hope and help that we need is in Jesus Christ. As Paul instructs, we must set our minds on what is above. However, too many families are thriving on the opposite and setting their minds on what the world has to offer.

Last week I polled my readers in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL and asked the following question, "Which expression best describes the attitude toward Christ with which you were raised?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 40% of those voting, said their family relied on Him to pull them through tough times.
2. 20% voted and said that He was the center of their family.
3. Another 20% polled said that they sought to honor and obey Him.

A few other votes that did not make my top 3 but yet bothered me, were those that voted and said they knew of Christ but ignored him or worse yet, His name was only mentioned in the cussing in their home. This poll revealed to me that Christ was NOT the center of our homes when we grew up.

There are specifics or what I call "standards" outlined in the Bible that we as Christians should strive to obey and we must teach them to our children. Paul gives 3 things to help us:


MATTHEW 10:39 "Anyone finding his life will lose it, and
anyone losing his life because of Me will find it."

Dying to self means that we no longer focus primarily on what benefits us but what benefits Christ. Turning away from lust and greed is not always an easy task. However, having discipline to focus on Christ will help because what we focus on will determine our actions.

Similar to dieting, one who is dieting would be wise to not focus solely on the foods they are giving up - this will cause us to fail. But success comes when we focus on the healthy foods. Likewise if we focus on what exalts Christ and not on what satisfies our selfish nature, we won't be consumed with what our self must give up.


The presence of Christ within us gives us an inner spiritual strength that we wouldn't otherwise have.

PHILIPPIANS 4:13 "I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me"

ALL THINGS includes being able to resist those things that Paul refers to such as lust and greed.

Having victory over the things of the flesh is not just about what to avoid, but also what we should seek. Paul calls us to "seek" and "set our minds" on what is above. That means that we need to set totally different goals than what our society encourages us to set.

We are good at setting goals...

  • I want to lose 10 pounds
  • I want to be a millionaire
  • I want to have children
  • I want to get married
  • I want a new car
Over time, we can usually hit the targets that we aim for. As Christians, we must aim for nothing less than a life that pleases God.

Do you have a spiritual plan of action?

As Paul gives us specifics on Christian living, it is my desire to be set apart. One way that I can focus on my spiritual plan is to create a mission statement for my personal life as well as my ministry. Having specific plans will enable me to live out the teaching of Paul ..."set your minds on what is above."

I have been studying the book of Colossians and this midweek study is a reflection of what Paul has taught me this week. Thank you for joining me. Now go and write out your mission statement!

Your opinion will show up in next week's study ~ vote on the side bar of this blog. Your opinion REALLY does matter!


Jennifer said...

Wow...another powerful and challenging post, Laurie! We have to make the choice to do the right thing, live the godly life, put Christ as the head of our household and walk in love as Christ commands us to is very hard.

Thank you for always challenging me to do better, try harder and make a bigger impact for Christ in my community and life.

Love you, girl!

P.S. Love the great news today too!!! PTL!

Beth in NC said...

Hi Laurie. This is my first visit to your blog and I've already decided to follow it. :o) Jennifer W. suggested I check out your site.

Thanks for sharing. I have a friend who was very wounded by a church split. She refuses to go back to church because of the people. Very sad. Humans will fail us, but God never will. Her name is Ashley if God ever brings her to your heart.