Devotion for Friday, June 19, 2020
Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is your life, appears…”
Yesterday, we saw in Colossians 3:3 how Christ calls us to die to self and sin to claim the identity of a true disciple. I stated, “We must deny ourselves. This means that we must lay down the rights, agendas, dreams, ambitions, diversions, perspectives, possessions, loves, characteristics, and identity markers that we held dear and made us WHO WE WERE while we were still sinners, dead in our trespasses.”
However, this is not the full story. Often, we focus on the things we must give up, so that we may live the Christian life that pleasing to God. It seems that must give up on those ambitions and dreams when we yield our lives to Christ. Yet, it is important to understand that the Bible does not say following the Lord Jesus Christ inherently leads to deprivation. That is what the enemy wants you to believe. There are millions of people who have not followed Christ because of the assumption that being a disciple means missing out on the perceived “good life.” In other words, if you follow Christ, your fun is over.
This could not be further from the truth. Remember what Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10) God and the Lord Jesus Christ do not command that you abolish your ambitions and dreams when you yield in faith. Rather, the act of faith and conversion is offering up your ambitions and dreams to the LORDSHIP of Jesus. That is what it means when Paul says, “your life is hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3) and that Christ “is your life” (v. 4). Your whole identity is now united in Christ, and everything about you is now tinged with the calling and purpose of the Savior.
The call of the gospel is not to throw away your dreams, ambitions, and the things you hold dear. Rather, you are ceding over PERCEIVED OWNERSHIP of those things to Jesus Christ, your new master. You realize that you never truly owned these ambitions in the first place. Dreams and ambitions outside the life-giving power of the gospel have no lasting consequence, for their impact can only be gained and felt on this earth. However, Jesus can redeem those desires to a greater purpose, whose impact can stretch into eternity!
God is not calling us to give up our passions, dreams, ambitions, possessions, families, occupations, and hobbies, per se, when you come to him in faith. He calls you to hand over the keys, the power, the ownership, and the control over to Him, without reservation. Jesus may ask you to give of your possessions to grow His Kingdom, as he asked the rich young ruler, and he may not. But you offer him 100% control over those possessions, nonetheless.
Your dreams have now become His dreams for you and through you. Your family has become your family that glorifies the Lord. Your occupation now becomes a new mission field for you to impact co-workers’ and clients’ lives. When you give God the control over your life, the possibilities for kingdom impact truly are infinite.
When the Lord invites us to die to ourselves, he is calling us to put to death the self-limiting notions that kept us earth-bound, trying to impress men, and attempting to amass worldly power, wealth, wisdom, and control. That is what it means when Paul says, “for you have died.” Your claim to ownership of your life and its earthly significance is DEAD. But, just as a seed must first die so that it may sprout forth into a beautiful plant, so shall our lives rise to walk in newness of life, once we give Him control. Once our lives are hidden in Christ and He becomes our LIFE, our significance, our worth, our calling, and our opportunities are no longer earth-bound. They are now with Christ, who is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. Therefore, “set your minds on things above.” (Col. 3:2)
Pastor, Sharon First Baptist Church
Photo courtesy of Melissa Askew via unsplash.com