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Signs of a transformed life

July 15, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Colossians 3:9-13

9 Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices 10 and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it. 11 In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people.
12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“Cleaning out the pond” means removing attitudes or habits that hinder spiritual growth. Colossians 3 aimed to define what that kind of transformation looks like. It called for removing the prejudices that divide people, and for living in harmonious community. “Christians aren’t merely saved individuals but are a saved people….God calls people to live as communities that reflect the reconciliation, love, and forgiveness that reflect the work of Christ (Col 3:12-17).” *

  • Colossians 3 invited God’s people to “put on” qualities closely related to those listed in Galatians 5:22-23 after “taking off” hurtful traits. That was more than just calling out natural abilities. “This life reflects [the Colossians] identity as the loved, forgiven, reconciled people of God in Christ.” ** Which of the qualities listed in Colossians 3:12-13 do you see flourishing in your life? Are there any you want to ask God to help you nurture and grow in?
  • “As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.” Not easy, said British Christian C. S. Lewis. “When I think I am asking God to forgive me….I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me….Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances….we can always have [real forgiveness] from God if we ask for it.” *** How have you learned that truly forgiving and accepting forgiveness is central to living in God’s way?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to love all my neighbors, everywhere. Help me start close to home and guide me as I expand my vision to be more and more like your vast, world-changing vision. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

Dear Friends,

How many of you willingly choose to “clean out your muck” or complete a “searching, fearless moral inventory” totally unprompted? If you’re raising your hand, go you!

However, many of us don’t like to trudge through all of our stuff all that often because it is just that: a long, hard walk through a lot of yuck. And yet, life has a way of putting blocks in our path that cause us to stumble face-first into the muck.

The past six months of my life have been some of the hardest that I have faced yet, culminating with the sudden loss of my mother in June. Up until that, I really still had my teeth clenched, eyes ahead, and was plowing through without stopping. But then. Tragedy such as this does not allow itself to be ignored.

My mother was in the hospital for almost 10 days, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on day seven. I could not go in and see her until the last 24 hours as my husband, daughter and I finally got hit by COVID. So the last hours that I got to spend with her, she could no longer talk or communicate. Angelic nurses reminded me that she could hear up until the very end, so I spent a lot of time just talking to her.

Our relationship was complicated. Is there a mother-daughter duo that isn’t? Many of our days were wasted in anger, or frustration, or hurt with one another and we rarely faced those things head-on, but allowed them to fester and grudges were held. And then you come to this moment where you are faced with the incredible fragility of our human bodies and our lives here on Earth and you finally realize that God did not mean for us to live this way.

We trend toward anger, we are meant for love. We trend toward grudges, we are meant for reconciliation. We trend toward excuses, we are meant for true forgiveness.

Facing this tragedy, alongside a grandmother in the hospital, family illness, and a job change finally forced me to stop and take a searching, fearless moral inventory–and I didn’t exactly love everything I found. But then, I met God there. He was waiting to clean out the muck with me. I didn’t have to do it alone. Just like I whispered words of forgiveness, love, and hope over my mother as she slid from earth to Jesus, I have since whispered prayers of repentance, gratitude, and hope to God.

I would absolutely never wish such circumstances on another, but I know they happen to all of us in a myriad of ways. Don’t wait for the valley to rise up in your relationships. We may not live long, so let’s live wide. Put on your boots, tell God you’re ready now, and clean up. Forgive the neighbor who leaves their trash bins out for three days, forgive the co-worker who put you down, forgive the friend who hasn’t reached out in too long, forgive the significant other who hasn’t noticed you in a while. Life will become brighter, bigger, and lighter and it is so, so worth a little trudging.

In the muck with you,
Lauren

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* J. R. Daniel Kirk, sidebar “Christ as New Adam” in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 386 NT.

** J. R. Daniel Kirk, study note on Colossians 3:12-17 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 386 NT.

*** C. S. Lewis, “On Forgiveness” in The Weight of Glory and other addresses. HarperSanFrancisco, 1976, pp. 178, 181. (Lewis’s entire essay on forgiveness is well worth reading.)