Knee Jerk Devotional: April 30, 2021

Colossians 3:1-11

Passage:

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

We are living through a time where tribalism rules. Everyone has a “team” and if you’re not on “my team” then you are “evil.” There is no in between. Everywhere we look there is a litmus test for being in this or that tribe.

Nuance?
Compromise?
Growth?
Change?

These are not things that are possible amongst the tribes. You cannot partner with, work with, or see anything good in the “other.” You simply aren’t allowed to do that.

The more we move in this direction the more exclusive and exclusionary the tribes become. Even those who claim to be “inclusive” are inordinately “exclusive.” It doesn’t take much to see it in the news or social media.

Then we come to Christ. We read in these ancient texts that they were just as tribal and many of the tribal issues broke along the same lines. People like Paul who saw Christ for who and what Christ is, couldn’t stand by. They had to speak and write calling people to something more.

You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

As we grow in our understanding of Christ and his grace we realize that the tribes are shadows. They are mists that are meaningless. The lines that we draw are truly in sand, they are blown away by the slightest breeze. As a result, we have to keep drawing them. When we do, they have moved and shifted. Why? Because they are rooted in nothing and they mean even less.

Reality, true reality, is rooted in this deeper understanding that all things are now defined by Christ. In Christ there is room for everyone. Christ has opened the way through his cross and resurrection to take down the dividing wall and unite image bearers once again. In Christ there is perfect unity in diversity.

The beauty of the Trinity is this same image of perfect unity in diversity. There is but one God and three persons in the godhead. How? I have no idea. It’s a mystery. It will always be a mystery. The question for me is why? Why do we have a God like that? Could it be to point us toward this understanding that wholeness comes not from division but from unity?

Who is your “other”?

If we claim to be like Christ or that we are seeking to set our minds on Christ, then we have no choice but to intentionally tear down the lines that we have drawn and move toward others in love and grace and mercy.

Who is your “other”?

Who do you need to add to Paul’s list?