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Friday, June 29, 2012

The straight message

Sometimes we just need to hear stuff straight.  We get so many "white-washed" messages throughout life, don't we?  In the end, we sometimes don't really know who to trust, or when to count on something as truth.  I think the gospel message is one of those things we should not "white-wash", or attempt to "pretty up" in any way.  It is best when it is straight-forward and to the point!


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.  (Colossians 2:6-7 The Message)


Paul does just the opposite of so many of the teachers of his day.  They were story-tellers.  They brought much "color" into the stories they set forth - sometimes because it gave a lasting impression; other times it was for effect.  Paul won't get caught in this trap - he comes with a straight-forward message and he will not compromise it.


1.  Go ahead and live Christ.  Simple, huh?  Yet it carries much more meaning.  First, he tells us to go ahead.  In other words, stop looking back - we really aren't missing out on anything in our past!  We "miss out" when we don't live in the present!  Live Christ - not some religion - but the person of Christ.  Let him be real in you - working in you the graces of his salvation.  


2.  Draw from Christ.  Deep roots serve the purpose of not only anchoring the tree, but they serve as instruments whereby what the tree needs for life is taken in.  Have you ever stopped to consider how the tree has anything to "give out"?  It is only as it takes in that it can give out!  Paul's advice to us is to draw from Christ whatever we need to move beyond our past and to begin living in our present.


3.  We've got a good foundation.  The purpose of a foundation is to provide the support for the structure to be built upon it.  I have passed construction lots at various stages of development, but nothing is more disappointing to me than to see a foundation sitting abandoned - nothing built on it.  The construction never proceeds and there sits this perfect foundation - abandoned.  What a shame!  Wouldn't it be a shame to allow a perfectly good foundation within our lives to go to such a waste?  Allow him to build upon your foundation of faith - strong, mighty, and majestic structures of his grace.


4.  Knowing your way and actually finding your way are two entirely different things.  We can know the way to do something - to actually do it is another.  We have been given all we need for living godly lives - learning to live "IN" what we are given is another thing entirely.  Paul's point - live obediently.  Don't just give lip-service to the truths you have been taught - actually allow them to begin to affect how you live your life.


5.  Living has an outcome - thanksgiving.  When we are truly living in the grace of God - the outcome is naturally thanksgiving.  There is a sense of gratitude which envelopes us when grace covers over us!