Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting Dressed for Abundant Living
Preacher: J. Murdock
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 3:5-17 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “Let’s be honest.” This phrase is often code for, “I have something I need to say that you are not going to like.” This is how many of us might see the portion of Colossians we are reading this week. We might hope it is not about us, yet it certainly could be as it is so broad. We can’t ignore the hard-hitting, direct list-making, top-ten issues that Paul brings to our attention. (For the record, there are not ten issues listed.) What if, however, you could hold off on your reaction and listen to the intent behind this passage? What if you suspended judgement, decided not to make it about yourself or anyone else you know, but allowed Paul to present the entire grand picture first? I know that is hard to do, but if you are reading this Daily Walk my hunch is that you are probably leaning that way.
Let me remind you what is taking place in Paul’s context. Society as a whole was under tremendous pressure to worship the Corinthian goddess Ahropidate, made infamous for her temples that had women working as prostitutes. Slavery, child abuse, and the general disregard for the poor, sick, and lame were typical of the ancient world. Enter Jesus Christ with His call to a different way. He wanted to restore humanity to its original creation, to bring the joy of a beautiful life to people everywhere.
This is what motivated Paul to write this letter to the Colossian Church. He is a like a new father or mother holding their baby and looking around at the world, seeing both beauty and danger. What would you do or say? “Let’s be honest”—probably the same thing, because you want the best for them.
I am in awe of the two sons Becky and I have. Despite our bumbling as learning parents they are growing into men of character. I wish, like Paul did, that they continue to grow in reflecting Jesus. I wish that we continue to grow in reflecting Jesus. I wish that you continue to grow in reflecting Jesus. That is what this little passage is really about this week. In the midst of a chaotic world, we are a beacon of hope because we are in Jesus. He is the One that reflects out to others.
Recalibrate: What did you wish for your child? What did your parents wish for you?
Respond: Thank Jesus for the hope He has in you.
Research: Read Mark 10:35-45. What does it teach us about being followers of Jesus?
Remember: “Do not lie to each other. You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before” (Colossians 3:9, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
Imagine that cost was no issue. Imagine what clothing you would buy for your children. For me, it has always been about how the clothing feels. With your little one, lay out your clothes for the day. Touch them and talk about how they feel and fit. Jesus has paid for the most beautiful well-fitting outfit for you and your child and everyone else. It comes from the design house called love—it makes everyone feel and look lovely. Get your love on in Jesus’ name today.
What is your favorite thing? Is it a toy or a game or a person? Do you have a t-shirt or pajamas with that favorite thing—like Spider Man or Elsa from Frozen? It is always sad when we grow out our favorite shirts or pajamas, because we love what is on them. Know that when Jesus is our favorite we never have to worry about growing out of Him. Jesus lives inside us. When Jesus lives in our hearts, we are able to love more and more and more. Love never gets smaller when Jesus is in the middle of it. Let Jesus live in the middle of your heart; ask Him today.
Brace yourselves, Colossians 3:5 is intense! Paul comes out of the gates spitting some truth that is not so pleasant to hear or even to think about applying! He says, “Put to death whatever in you is earthly.” He goes on to list a bunch of options you might choose from, but the reality is this: Paul is saying you have to be full of God and therefore full of nothing else. But how? Aren’t we mere humans walking the earth living amongst people who don’t believe like we do? How can we put all of that to death when we can make a pretty good argument for why we need it to protect ourselves from the outer influences?
Paul scratches all of that out and says all we need is God and we’re set. Can you imagine using that logic for anything else? Think about what would happen if you walked up to your teacher in class today and told her that you didn’t study for the test today because you were too busy letting everything that isn’t God die inside of you. Probably not the right move, huh? So what is Paul saying practically?
Paul is saying that God intends to make you into something greater than the greedy, self-protecting, and impure person you may be growing into and instead wants to direct your life into something full of light to show the world draped in darkness how to live. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? Life lived without the baggage of self-degrading humiliation and doubt so that God can use us for His Kingdom’s purpose!
How do you think you could go about figuring out what is earthly in you? And how would you find a way to put it to death to make space for more Jesus in your heart?
When you allow God into your heart and trust Him to do what is good for you with it, you will notice changes. “Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5) will diminish under His enabling power. These things hurt you and they hurt others, which brings about the wrath of God (Colossians 3:6). Let Him make you into His image.
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.