Friday, January 30, 2009


The Holy Spirit tells us to “put off” the old man and “put on the new.” He said we are to “put on” tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering (Colossians 3:12). It is a directive and we are responsible to action.

The fact that it is a choice indicates it does not come to us naturally. We will not be able to do it by will power alone. It is when we soak in God’s presence, continually live there, that we are able to put on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering.

The adhesive to these attitudes is love. Colossians calls it the “bond of perfection.” It is what causes us to show humility and treat others as Christ has treated us. God is the only true source for this spiritual glue. All other sources are tainted with self preservation and will not stand up under extreme stress.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do (Colossians 3:12-13).

We particularly enjoy people who think and behave like we do. Because none of us are completely alike, even our closest friends will sometimes irritate us. When this happens, we naturally want to complain about the other person and to draw back from the relationship. We easily excuse our anger and allow resentment to fester in our spirits.

When we do this, we are creating a sore that will become infested with unforgiveness until we wake up one morning with a hardened heart (Hebrews 3:12). It is good for us to remember that God loved us while we were dead set against him. He offered his forgiveness while we were still ridiculing his existance. Even now that we belong to him, he is calling us back to communion with him while we are demeaning one of his kids.

What we owe God is far more than what anyone owes us. Let's remember that and offer that person forgiveness.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Neither Slave nor Free

Colossian 3:8-11 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Sythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all in and in all.”

The Holy Spirit connects lying with being arrogant. Greeks looked down on the Jews. Jews looked down on the Greeks. People judged one another based on religious practices such as circumcision. Slaves envied and did not trust the free and free men looked down on slaves. Evidently they believed they did not owe the truth to those beneath them because “it was none of their business”.

That is why the Holy Spirit connects prejudice and lying. Our untruths are symptomatic of our belief that we are stronger than others and therefore can tolerate the truth that others cannot tolerate. We are convinced that we know what is best for someone else and thus excuse our exaggerations, partial truths or out right fabrications.

Our lies reveal more about our pride than the weakness of those we choose to “protect.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


We know that God knows all things. He knows the beginning and the end. He has always existed and always will exist. He made all things and by him all things continue to exist.

Scripture says that we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). Paul said God is forming us into the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). Keeping these truths is mind, let’s read Colossians 3:9-10. “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…”

“The new man is renewed in knowledge, according to the image of Him who created him.” It is the continual renewing of our knowledge of him that sustains our spiritual health. Our continual seeking of his face is the blood of our spiritual beings. To cease from seeking knowledge of him is to become anemic and sickly. If things do not change, we will eventually die.

Monday, January 26, 2009


It is surprising how difficult it can be to be authentic. How often do we avoid the truth? If we believe someone will disapprove of something, we avoid giving straight answers. Some women wives hide from their husbands items they have purchased to avoid being scolded. Some husbands purchase toys without consulting their wives because they assume they will not agree. Some children aren’t honest with their parents when they know they are behaving in a way that would displease them.

What do you suppose would happen if we no longer hid who we really are? Would there be a difference in our relationships? Would we keep the same friends? Would we walk more circumspectly because we knew that everything we did or said would be common knowledge?

The Holy Spirit tells not to lie to one another (Colossians 3:9). What does that really look like?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Responsibility

Though it is God who cleanses us from all sin, our responsibility is not negated. We pray for God to change us and he will point out those areas that need changing. He may also arrange circumstances so that your desire to change will be increased. But he gives us the responsibility to actively decide to change (Colossians 3:8).

We are responsible to stop being angry people. We are responsible to stop spewing out our wrath as though we were the rulers of men and not God. We are to stop using filthy language. We are responsible to clean up our act.

In the middle of the lists of behaviors we are to change, the author of Colossians includes the word, blasphemy. What believer would purposefully utter blasphemy?

The author is connecting blasphemy with anger, wrath and malice. When we become angry that others don’t do what we want them to, we have placed ourselves on the level of God. We are behaving as though we are completely righteous and therefore have the ability to judge others righteously without error. This is blasphemy because God is the only righteous judge (Mathew 7:1-5; Romans14:4).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Wicked Prosper

Perhaps you are like me and have often asked God along with the psalmist, “Why do the wicked prosper?” (Psalm 73). The Psalmist was reminded of their end and returned his heart to trusting God. Colossian 3:6 also reminds us of the outcome of serving self over God, “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

The good news is that we no longer live under the threat of God’s wrath (Romans 5:8-9). We were once fornicators, unclean, filled with ungodly passion, evil desires and covetousness. But we have been changed (Colossians 3:7).

We are admonished by the Holy Spirit to walk in a manner worthy of the name of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-3) and to put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language and lies(Colossians 3:8-9). Instead we are to walk as a new man. Our contemplation of the image of God gives us a pattern to follow, not the pattern of man, but that of God. Being so full of godly desires, we no longer interact with one another based on race or creed, but in fellowship with Christ who is Lord of all who belong to him (Colossians 3:8-11).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Closed Bedroom Doors

When guests are coming for dinner, we sweep and vacuum the floors, make sure the bathrooms are presentable and beds are made. If we haven’t had time to fold the clean clothes on the quest bed, we close the door.

But with God, we can never close a door so that he cannot see what we have been doing or need to do. The Holy Spirit tells us to get rid of the dirty clothes called “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness.”

He calls these acts idolatry because we choose to do them even though we know God is displeased with these. Anything we value more than God is an idol.

(Colossians 3:5)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spilt Open Containers

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

We only see containers of spirits when we look at each other. God sees us.

When Christ appears this next time, we will see him in his glory (John 17:5; Ezekiel 1:26-28). We will also appear, not as containers of spirits but in full glory of what he has made us to become (I John 3:1-3; I Corinthians 15:35-45).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mysterious Life

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3). What an amazing thing to ponder.

If you are like me, you may have said more than once, “I don’t get it. Why did this happen? What went wrong?” Or maybe you were completely taken by surprise by the positive way things turned out. We often plan for life to go a certain way but find ourselves involved in a completely different circumstance than we planned. This verse explains why this happens. Our lives are hidden in Christ. We do not understand what is happening, but that certainly doesn’t mean he is mystified.

God told us plainly that whatever he decides will happen will come to pass (Isaiah 55:10-11; Job 42:2). On that great day, the Lord will reveal to us what he has been accomplishing in and through us all these years.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hot Coffee

Snow covered the ground and ice glistened off the branches and trunks of the trees. It was a gloriously beautiful morning and I was late for work. My purse hung over my right shoulder, my lunch box hanging over the left, one hand holding a bowl of fruit and cottage cheese, the other a mug of hot coffee, I pulled the front door closed behind me with my left foot.

I struggled for a few seconds to balance the coffee and bowl, so I could unlock the car but it wasn’t working. Without thinking it through I set the mug of coffee on the icy roof of the car. In a split second it was on the ground. That is what Colossians 3:2 means when it instructs us not to set our minds on things of the earth. It is a slippery slop.

Instead, set your mind on things of heaven where Christ is. With our attention focused on Christ, the temptations of earth slip away and the solid foundation of God’s spirit holds us up (Colossians 3:1-2).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Lost Earring

In Colossians 2:5 it says we have died with Christ. In chapter 3:1 it says we have been raised with Christ. Just as one day we will change bodies, (1 Corinthians 15:35-45), so we have currently exchanged spirits (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are no longer to live according to human passions but according to heavenly perfection.

Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit admonishes us to seek those things which are above (Colossians 3:1; Mathew 6:33). How do you seek something? You look everywhere. If I lose an earring, I first glance around the floor to see if I can spy it. If I don’t I get on my hands and knees and look under the bed, the dresser and run my hands over the carpet to see if I can feel anything. Depending on how valuable it is to me, I will resort to getting a flashlight in hopes the light will reflect off the metal. If it is of particularly sentimental value, I will pray that God will help me find it.

If I do that for a temporal object, should I put less time and effort into searching for the eternal?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Home Made Religion

When my first husband left me for another woman, he wanted to continue to direct my life. He felt it was his right to continue to come and go in the house where we used to live, though he had moved out with his girlfriend. I had to change the locks and make the boundaries clear. When he continued to dishonor them, I moved out of state.

So it is with our old lives. Though we have been freed from Satan, he wants to continue to control our lives. He would be delighted if he could ensnare us in a trap of earning our salvation, “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.” The Holy Spirit calls such rules “self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body.” He says it appears spiritual but is actually death.

Indulgence of the flesh is what God warns against. It is a much broader requirement because it covers anything in the world that holds us bondage. The self-imposed religion limits itself to specific lists controlled only by our imagination. But God knows that anything can become bondage if we allow it to control us.

He calls us to freedom (I Corinthians 6:12; Colossians 2:20-23).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Glorifying Low Self-esteem

As we should not condemn each other for the festivals and celebrations we enjoy as reflections of our beliefs, so we also should beware of celebrations that are contrary to the Word of God. For instance, many people celebrate angels. They base decisions on visions they have seen of angels and want you to obey their directions based on visions.

These people are those who talk a lot about humiliating yourself and seeking signs and wonders. They promote low self-esteem as a godly quality yet have a puffed up view of their importance to the body of Christ. They condemn others who find reasons to celebrate and forget that we are all part of the same body, even if we have differing views.

We need to remember when we disagree with each other’s choices, that we are not masters but servants. There is only one master, God (Colossians 2:16-19).

Friday, January 9, 2009


Celebrations of new moons and festivals were often associated with worship of gods. There were the gods of the harvest, the gods of the river, the gods of the New Year and many others. The celebration of Christmas was originally a pagan holiday celebrating the solstice. So why did Paul write, “So let no one judge you … regarding a festival, or a new moon or Sabbaths”?

Because God is not troubled by human traditions. As Paul points out, our celebrations are only shadows. A police officer doesn’t give you a ticket because your shadow went out into the traffic. If a car runs over your shadow both you and your shadow survive. Shadows are only silhouettes of our bodies. Our celebrations are silhouettes of what we believe.

Paul is not advocating celebrating other gods or saying to join in their celebrations is acceptable. But if you have converted a previous celebration into that which honors God, don’t let people make you feel guilty about that (Colossians 2:16-19).

Thursday, January 8, 2009


When someone rejects us, betrays us, insults us or harms us, we do not easily forgive and rarely, if ever forget. Our trust level has been damaged and we are cautious about depending on the person again. If this happens enough times with on person, we will give up trying and the friendship will die. If many people disappoint us in any one of these areas, we may become hesitant to trust anyone.

But God who has been violate repeatedly by each of us, still places responsibility in our hands and honors us by trusting us with his word. He has “nailed to the cross” all of our violations and the accusations that were written against us. He not only forgave us, but has disarmed the enemy of our soul who tries to tempt us (Colossians 2:13-15).

Satan’s only power is the power we give him when we believe his lies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Sign of a Covenant

God made a covenant with Abraham promising to create a nation from his son Isaac and to bless nations through his descendant, namely Jesus, the Christ. Abraham agreed to obey and serve God in return. God counted Abraham’s faith as righteousness and to “seal the deal” he commanded Abraham to be circumcised (Genesis 17:11). It was a physical reminder to Abraham of God’s promise to him and that he belonged to God.

Jewish religious leaders during Jesus’ life time thought the fact that they were circumcised meant they were righteous. They confused faith and works like so many of us do. Colossians 2:11 clarifies that God has removed our sins from us.

Water baptism symbolizes God’s covenant with us and our commitment to him (Colossians 2:12). When we were rebellious, he created in us a new heart. He has disarmed the power that sin and Satan had over us so that we can now daily choose that which is righteous. (Colossians 2:8-15).

As circumcision was to Abraham, our good works are to us, a sign of the covenant between us and God.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Finding Fault

There are those who say we are not perfect. We have not arrived. We fall too short of God’s glory. Who would not agree? But it is important that while recognizing our shortcomings, that we don’t confuse this with not being accepted by God. When this happens we tend to fear his coming and wonder if we have done enough for God.

That thought pattern is a trap of discouragement set by Satan to weigh down our heart and cause us to spin our wheels. Paul wrote in Colossians 2:8-10 that we need to be aware of empty deceit and philosophy that is based on the traditions of men, namely that we must earn God’s favor. He reminds us in Romans 5:10 if he reconciles us to himself while we were still his enemies, do we think he will turn away from us now that we are his children?

We are to base our thinking according to the principles of Christ who has the fullness of God dwelling in him. We are complete in Jesus and he has given us the power by his grace to overcome the enemy of our soul. We can do this because Jesus has authority over all principalities and powers.

We are not perfect, but we are saved.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Abounding in Grace

Scripture tells us in Colossians 2:6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

What we focus on will affect how we feel. When I was a young woman, there were very attractive men I wanted to notice me. If they talked to me, my heart would race and my palms would become sweaty. I could not have prevented smiling if my life depended on it. My thoughts were controlling the responses in my body.

So it is with our life experience. As we base our decisions and habits on his Word and not on our desires, we become established in faith because we experience the outcome of faithfulness. As we give thanks for his presence, for salvation, for his grace given to us without charge, we become thankful and our outlook on life changes.

The longer we live in him, the greater our thanksgiving grows and the more freedom we experience.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rooted and Grounded

Scripture tells us in Colossians 2:6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Jesus put it this way, “I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” So the secret is death to self preservation when it comes to following Christ. We must be willing to give up anything and everything for him.

Jesus said in the same passage, “He who loves his life will lose it.” Sinful things that we think are fulfilling us, are actually killing us. They will divide our families, destroy our peace and the results will take us by surprise.

Jesus went on to say, “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my father will honor.” Living as Jesus has taught us will establish are faith as we see him work emotional and spiritual miracles in our lives.