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Be Careful.

We have all witnessed what a little bit of carelessness will do to a room, to a house, to a car, or even a relationship. Carelessness is often the product of an ungrateful heart. My dad taught me that if you are grateful for something that you have been given you will show the person who gave it you how grateful you are for it by how well you take care of it. For instance, I was blessed to have been gifted my first car and as grateful as I said that I was for it, he would always point out that the car did not reflect my gratefulness because I was not caring for its’ cleanliness.

Do you care for your soul?

If you profess Christ, of course you care for your soul! You know that we do not measure up to God’s standard and that you need to be saved from your sin so that your soul does not incur that wrath of God for eternity. I believe that our care for our soul should reach beyond just a profession of Christ, but also to be careful.

John Maxwell famously penned the words “Leadership is influence”. As Christians, we are to be Followers of Jesus, implying that Jesus is our leader. To care for your soul is to be influenced more by Christ than the world. Paul commands the Colossian church to be careful that no one takes them captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition and by elements of the world. To often, our thinking, our decision making, and what we believe about God is taken captive by—or influenced by—the world rather than Christ. Not because we make the decision to follow the world, but because we have a tendency to love the world more than we love Jesus and without careful focused effort to dwell on the things of God and to submit to Christ we will drift away from the truth that has set us free.

Paul’s command is to be careful, so I urge you to be careful about who you are influenced by. If Jesus is your leader, let His life and His instruction influence you today. If you do that, it will influence your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and your relationship with yourself.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with God. You will see God for who he is rather than a conjured up version of who our flesh wants him to be. Right worship of God begins with a right view of God and a right view of God comes from believing what Jesus believed in the scriptures. God is Holy, His wrath is towards sin, He is loving, and He went to great lengths to save His children from their sin—not to see them wither up and continue in their sin, but to see them grow more and more into the image of His son.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with others. If you look at Jesus’ life long enough with a desire to emulate it, you will serve others, you will disciple others, and you will seek to honor God with all that you do. Looking to be influenced by Christ every single day will give you a heart for the lost. Jesus reached out to the people who were looked down upon—and we should follow his lead and do the same.

Being influenced by Christ instead of the world will influence your relationship with yourself. You should begin to care what you see, what you hear, and cut things out of your life that you know are not God-honoring. You will see your sin as rebellion to God instead of casual misconduct. You will live life gratefully and begin to take care of your soul through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Care for your soul. Remind yourself of the Gospel. Let Jesus lead your thoughts, your words, and your deeds and you will begin to look more like Him.

Posted by Andrew Wilson with

Gratitude: A Powerful Weapon

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV).

As we prepare our hearts and our minds for the sermon this coming Sunday I want to take a moment to talk about what it means to walk in Christ, and how we can use thanksgiving as a powerful tool against the enemy. To best understand what these two verses are teaching, we need to take a step back and look at the context of Paul’s writing. At the time this letter was written he was sitting in prison, being persecuted for his faith. He is writing to the Colossians about the supremacy of Christ, encouraging them not to be deceived by the lies of the enemy, and giving them instructions on how they should be guarding themselves and living in obedience to God. With that in mind, I want to break down a few sections from this short passage.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...” (v. 6)

Ephesians 2:8 says the following about how we receive Christ:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Our relationship with Christ Jesus starts with faith and also must continue in faith. It is a journey that we walk with Him daily (John 6:35). In an earlier passage of this letter, Paul said that he was praying for the church to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1: 10). Therefore, we know that walking in Christ means to have faith in His saving work and live in a way that is fully pleasing to Him.

“Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith...” (v. 7a)

So how are we supposed to know how to walk in a way that is fully pleasing to the Lord? We begin by being rooted in Him. This is an extremely important part of the Christian walk that we cannot overlook. According to Paul, the first step in living in a manner worthy of the Lord is to have our roots deeply planted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It may seem easy to think of the saving work of Christ as simply the beginning of our Christian faith. After all, it is because of this work- His death, burial, and resurrection, that we are saved from our sin in the first place. However, Paul is arguing that this isn’t merely the starting point for believers, but rather it is the foundation. And it is this foundational truth that protects us from the deceit and delusion of false teaching.

“...abounding in thanksgiving” (v. 7b).

As we come to the end of these two verses Paul gives further instruction on how we can continue to walk in Christ. He says that we do so by abounding in thanksgiving. This is a powerful lesson that Paul is teaching and it is that when we walk in Christ, rooted in the truth of the gospel, our lives should overflow with gratitude.

If we look back at the beginning of chapter two, we will read that Paul is encouraging and praying and instructing the Colossians to walk in Christ so that they will not be deluded or deceived by the enemy. Now, just a few verses later, he is instructing them to abound in thanksgiving. This is because being rooted in Christ leads us to an overflowing gratitude that guards us against deceit.

Not only is Paul giving these instructions, but he himself is a living example of how being rooted in Christ and abounding in thanksgiving will guard our souls and minds against deceit.

Paul is talking about abounding in thanksgiving while he is sitting in prison - and he can sit in prison and still be overflowing with gratitude because he recognizes that he has a Savior that died so that he could live. He is encouraging us and reminding us that we have everything to be thankful for, no matter the circumstance because we have received Christ and He is walking with us. And that is why gratitude is such a powerful weapon against the enemy - because gratitude reminds us that no matter the trial or suffering, our God is good and he has given us more than we could ever deserve. (Romans 1:21)

 So, it is my prayer that as we prepare for the sermon this Sunday we remember that we are all called to walk in Christ, rooted in the truth of the gospel, choosing gratitude in all circumstances.

Posted by Abby Bumpus with

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