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Devotionals    H3'ed 2/16/14

Living the Christian Life - Lessons from Colossians - Part Four

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No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,   and this is what he requires of you:   to do what is right, to love mercy,   and to walk humbly with your God . - Micah 6: 8 (NLT)

Notice that it is not required merely to show mercy or to be merciful. No beloved - we are supposed to love mercy. It is supposed to be deep down inside of us. That God showed us His mercy should motivate us to want to show the same mercy to everyone else. Instead the devil has Christians demanding their "rights" in a world that we are no longer supposed to be citizens of. He has us showing disdain or hatred to the very people we are charged with presenting the Gospel to! I saw a mega church pastor recently preach in a sermon that all atheists should get out of the country! That is a strange evangelistic style! The truth is it is not evangelism. It is hatred pure and simple and a love for this temporal world over the love of Christ. It is merciless - the opposite of what we are supposed to clothe ourselves with. 

Secondly, we are to cloth ourselves with kindness and humility. Realize that because we must choose to clothe ourselves with these traits then we are by default not like this naturally. We are not kind by nature. We are not humble by nature. The world sees enough mean-spiritedness. They do not need to see it from the church as well. Unfortunately, some of the meanest spirits I have encountered are in the church as well. Condemning spirits. Chastising spirits. This is nothing new:

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, "Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them.   So they went on to another village.  - Luke 9: 51-56 (NLT)

Can you imagine? The Apostles see first hand the kindness of the ministry of Jesus Christ and still think it is acceptable to rain down fiery judgment upon those who did not want to accept Christ? Sound familiar? What about pride now? It seems everyone today has declared themselves an Apostle or Prophet. Pastors are taught within the theories of church growth that they are a CEO more than a pastor! So many want to serve in the most visible of ministries, displaying their piousness for all to see. This is not new either. The Apostles were always debating which among them would be considered the greatest! Jesus teaches us all:

"Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do--blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.  - Matthew 6: 1-4 (NLT)

We have become a trumpet blowing church. Pronouncing our good deeds for all to see. Beloved, the world is all about self promotion but the church is supposed to be about Christ-promotion! We must clothe ourselves with kindness and humility. Thirdly, we are to put on the garments of gentleness and patience. Take a look at this on display when the Pharisees brought Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery:

"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!" Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No, Lord," she said.   And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."  - John 8: 4-11 (NLT)

Look at the frustration shown by the accusers at the gentleness and patience Jesus is displaying. They had to keep demanding an answer until Jesus cut them right to their own sinful hearts. But He did so with a scalpel, not a chain saw. Far too often we use the Bible as a blunt instrument to smack someone over the head instead of the two edged sword it was meant to be. Beloved the unsaved people of the world see enough brutality in their lives. They need to see gentleness from us. They see enough intolerance in their lives. They need to see patience from us. Christianity has become far too immersed in the politics of man - something Jesus never did. There are swaths of denominations who believe in dominionist theology, where the church prepares the world for the second coming of Christ. This is pure heresy. We are to be patient regardless of what treatment we might be receiving:

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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