Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting Word to the Saints and the Faithful
Preacher: Iki Taimi
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Lydia Svoboda
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Colossians 1:1-10 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: What can you do with ten minutes? Take a power nap on the floor in your office? Try a few pilates stretches? Listen to the Daily Walk podcast? Better yet, read the entire letter of Colossians! Those ten minutes could change your life. The challenge is really simple. Each time you find you have a ten-minute window of time, pull up your favorite Bible app on your phone or pick up a physical Bible and read the whole letter. Allow the text to breathe. Allow the text to engage your imagination. Each time you read it, something new will speak to you. It might be the same verse or sentence or phrase. It might be a new one. Either way, the Holy Spirit will speak wisdom into your life. I was on my third reading today (ESV version) when the Words to Remember for this week took hold of me:
He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 1:8, ICB)
Each time I read this letter, I asked myself, “How would this have been possible?” This love certainly did not come from human strength. It was from the Holy Spirit and it generated a new reality. The people of this church became a community that loved “all the saints.” This phrase is the same one that Paul used in Verse 2 to describe a community that loved all people, believing that everyone belongs to Jesus. It was like the early church described in Acts 4:32-35.
It is easy enough to love those who are kind, generous, friendly, or gracious—or those with whom we simply find a more natural connection. To love those who are rude, harsh, cutting, or are irritated by our presence, however, requires that the source of love be generated from a different place. How do you love those who actively work against you? Those who persecute you? Those who attempt to crush you? Worst yet is when these negative actions come from people we expect to support us. We hope that our parents, our partners, our children, our siblings, our friends, will be supportive. When they work against us and are unkind to us, our ability to love has to come from the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the challenge of Jesus is one that ought to encourage us to seek transformation from the Holy Spirit:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48, ESV)
Recalibrate: Love everyone! Are Paul and Jesus talking about the same kind of love? Can we love like that? What role has the Holy Spirit played in your faith development?
Respond: Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Research: Read all of Matthew 5.
Remember: “He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit” (Colossians 1:8, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission Identity at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
Take ten minutes today to be thankful. Wander around your home or your neighborhood with your little one, pointing out all that you have to be thankful for. Do the same thing for love—point out all the people and things that you love. In the Words to Remember for this week, Paul thanks God for the people who love God’s people. How do we show that we love others and are thankful for them?
The Words to Remember for this week are found in Colossians 1:8. Paul also tells us about the love we have from the Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard someone say good stuff about you when you were thinking they were going to say something bad? Doesn’t it feel good? Paul is telling the people that he has heard good things about them. He is cheering them on to keep on loving because that is what the Holy Spirit does. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the good wherever you are today.
When I was growing up, my mom used to do this thing where she would prompt me and my brother to say thank you as soon as the meal was over. It used to drive me crazy—and I thought she was crazy! Now, you might wonder whether I was the crazy one. All my mom was trying to do was to encourage me to be grateful out loud, right? Fair point! But hear me out on this one—when my mom told me that I needed to say “thanks” for the meal it felt like the gratitude expressed wasn’t really mine but hers. It drove me mad because I really was thankful! I really wanted to say thanks! But when she told me to say it, it felt like my voice wasn’t mine anymore. When I was told be thankful, I suddenly wasn’t so thankful anymore.
In the years since (and now that my mom isn’t around to tell me when to say certain words or do certain things like she used to) I have tried to understand why she did what she did, and why I reacted the way I did. I have come to realize that there is a timing to thankfulness. While you can always be thankful, and it’s never a bad time to say thanks, there is a “good time” to do it. And that’s when you feel it. But sometimes you need to focus on thankfulness in order to allow your heart to notice that it’s feeling thankful. Only then can you feel what my mom felt, which was that we had reached the “good time” in her heart and it was time to trigger those emotions that would fuel the words. It has led me to think about my thankfulness more intentionally and to work to express my heart more often. It’s time to feel the Spirit move and to be thankful.
What is the Spirit telling you to focus on today? Who needs to hear about it?
It’s easy to say, “I’m praying for you.” It’s easy to give this reassurance once someone has confided in you or when you simply don’t know what else to say. It’s an easy thing to say—and an equally easy thing to forget to actually do. What if we actually lifted each other up in prayer, not only when physically present but in our own quiet, personal conversations with God, too? What if we did this daily? Don’t let words be enough. Let the Holy Spirit get involved—ask for His presence to bless and guide, and watch the lives of the people around you change.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Lydia Svoboda is a junior theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.