To Follow Jesus
My (Shayne McCusker) notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
November/December 2014 Issue – ‘Bringing down giants’
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Colossians 3:1-17 (NIV-UK): “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I’m always alerted to the fact that Paul consistently stresses the need to take off our old self – to cease our old sinful ways; and to put on our new self, which is being renewed by the power of God’s Spirit into the image of Jesus.
It’s these sort of verses, which should cause us to pause and reflect; and ask ourselves the question: “Can I see a change in my life-style – am I becoming more like Jesus; or am I standing still – if so, what is holding me back?” Whatever the answer, prayer for help or thanksgiving – should always flow from this type of reflection.
Selwyn, in today’s study, continues to discuss the giant of revenge and the right way of dealing with this issue, is through forgiveness. He tells us that forgiveness is different to justice. We can forgive a person, but that person still needs to be accountable to society, for the consequences of their actions. Forgiveness does not imply that we condone an evil action.
As Selwyn writes: “In the case of revenge a person insists on being the judge in their own quarrel. Where justice is concerned, the injured party hands the matter over to society for someone else to be the judge.”
The other aspect that Selwyn looks at, is the response of the forgiven person; sometimes, they may not care if they are forgiven or not – either way, their response will reflect the nature – of their relationship with God.
We are called to be a witness of Jesus’ love for this world, and part of our calling is to be like Jesus – we forgive; because it is part of the nature of our new self – to be forgiving. By following Jesus’ example, we make God known to a world that is desperate for His love, yet they often fail to recognise their need. Our actions may help them see and experience the love of our Lord.
Christmas time – is an excellent time – to reflect on our relationship with other people, and discern if there is someone we have failed to forgive during the year – and then do something about it. It’s the right thing to do. Do you agree?