“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” NRSV
As those who have confessed Jesus as the Lord of our lives, it is, from time to time, a good idea to take an inventory of the remnants of these behaviors and attitudes that the author of Colossians says we should have put to death when we stripped off the old self and clothed ourselves with the new self. (This sentence should have come with a roadmap!) The questions we must ask, what still needs to die within us if we are to be all God calls us to be as followers of Jesus? What still needs “renewed?”
Then, notice how we are renewed…in knowledge! We are to be imitators of God, or more appropriately, imitators of God as God was revealed to the world through Jesus of Nazareth. We must be knowledge seekers of all things God-in-Christ. Faith is a journey of letting go of the earthly, which holds us down and diminishes us, and embracing the heavenly or the spiritual elements of life, which allow us to soar into the full essence of our being by knowing how to follow in the wake of Jesus. The journey plays a little differently for each of us. One size does not fit all.
We are called to love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength. So the inventory assessment questions are, has my heart reached its full capacity to love? has my mind grasped all there is to know about God and my relationship with God? has my soul achieved total oneness with God, its Creator? and, have I exhausted my strength in service to God? The answer to all four questions is simply “no.” And, that’s the beauty, the grace, and the wonder of the journey. The capacities of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength just keep expanding as we seek to know God and ourselves more fully. We never exhaust or reach a limit to what we can accomplish to God’s glory and in service to the world God so loves.
The only things that get in the way, that derail our journeys, are the things Paul said must die. They are like pin-pricks in our soul balloons that let the spirit slowly escape, keeping us rooted and “earthly.” That’s why occasional assessments to see what in us still needs to die is important. That, too, is part of the knowledge of renewal.
It is your thirst for such knowledge that, in part, endears me to HCC. You are all so special. I can’t wait until we can restart the journey again, in each other’s presence (maybe with some of the Smith’s cookies and cupcakes and a full wicker basket of sweets thrown in for good measure!).
Be a blessing to someone today!