Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the beginning of a call to action from one early Christian leader, Paul, reminding Christians that following Jesus is a lifelong transformation that should be evident in their actions, words and hearts. He gives some examples in the part we’ll read today:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:5-17 ESV)
This is work that happens in our hearts, and also in our actions. They go together.
Hear it here in this passage: Inner Heart: Anger, Rage, Lust, Malice, Evil Desires, Greed…and more. Reside in our hearts.
Outer Practices: Avoid Slander, Filthy Language and Sexual impurity. Instead, Psalms, Hymns, Songs…and more. Outer actions.
Instead, he says, let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly….Teach and admonish one another. Do everything in the name of Jesus.
See how the heart change is connected to the behaviour change. It’s tempting to mix those up. Many people think Christianity is about cleaning you up, behaving properly, in order to earn God’s love. But we don’t turn ourselves around with our behaviour…it is the turning around where God’s Word dwells in our hearts, begins to transform them, and that leads to the new behaviour. Paul is speaking to Christians, those who’ve heard and responded to God’s call to repentance, and he is helping them travel in that new direction.
These moral directions, all on their own, can seem demanding, even too demanding. Words jarring. But repentance is key! For someone who has consciously chosen to follow Jesus, these are not the ways to earn God’s love, but to thank God for his love shown on the cross, by actively walking in his way instead of the one that simply feels right to us.
Question: When have your actions been out of sync with your heart or mind? What does Paul suggest to counter that common experience?