As beings with a human nature, we are all intimately acquainted with our old selves. If anyone needs a reminder, all they have to do is read Colossians 3, which paints a pretty good picture. Paul goes on to describe the new self in Christ, which is the direct opposite of the old self. He uses words like compassion, kindness, humility, patience and gentleness. I think we all know from experience it’s easier said than done to have these qualities.
From verses 12 through 17, we see what it’s supposed to look like, but how to accomplish putting on and then living out this new self? We need to go back to the beginning of Colossians 3: “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.”
Jesus said where your heart is your treasure will also be (Matthew 6:21). Paul seemed to be expanding this way beyond money and possessions to our whole attitude and focus in life. As we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, learn to set our hearts and minds on things above, where Christ is, our old selves with their low and base desires will continually fade into oblivion. As the old song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” goes, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.
Let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus and set our hearts on things above, for we died and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. He is our resurrection and because he lives, we live in newness of life – as new creatures with a new self. Happy Easter!
Since we moved, I’ve been doing a lot of baking – sourdough baking in particular. And no, I didn’t start because of the virus or the stay at home restrictions. I began a sourdough starter last year and made English muffins, crackers and bread sticks. It was fun and felt good to create what I considered culinary works of art. Lately I’ve branched out into pancakes, pizza dough and bread. I’ve even used it in banana bread and chocolate cake!
You may be wondering what this has to do with God. No, I’m not going to tell you about a trinity of yeasts in sourdough. But a sourdough starter is alive, and all life comes from him. When I’m tending my starter, I enjoy seeing it bubble with renewed life after being fed.
The life of God is the life force of the universe, even in sourdough starters. His life force is what raised Jesus back to life from his grave and it’s what gives us new life in him right now. It’s also our hope for eternal life with him, his resurrection that is also our resurrection. When he died, we died and when he rose, we rose. His life is in us. When I feed and use my starter, I praise him for his life and his love that causes him to want to share it with us.
“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!” (Acts 3:15, NLT).
My daughter went to a book signing by one of her favorite authors. She loved meeting him, getting her photograph with him and talking about his books. It was a highlight for her and she treasures the signed book. A book with the author’s signature is always more valuable, especially as time goes on.
God is the author of life. In the very beginning, he created all life on the planet from his own life, out of himself. And now he gives his children new life in Christ as they believe and trust him with their physical lives and their souls. As the author, he signs his name on us in the blood of Jesus. God is the author who invites everyone to the signing, will wait for all to come and will never tire. Our lives, already intrinsically valued because we are made in his image, become even more treasured. His signature on our lives makes us priceless.
“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen” (Matthew 28:6a, NLT).
At various times, Hollywood has been fascinated with movies depicting bringing people back from the dead: Frankenstein, zombies, vampires all took their turn at center stage. They never quite got it right, as the creatures were mangled, grotesque or perverted in their humanity.
Only one man has ever truly come back from the dead and when he did, it was not with a mangled, grotesque body, but a wonderfully transformed, glorified one. The resurrection of Christ is still the most exciting and pivotal event in all of human history. No movie could ever do it justice. It’s even more amazing because Jesus was God at the same time as being human and it was his power as God that raised him from the dead. As we celebrate this incredible and essential-to-our-salvation event, let’s remember he’s right here with us, participating in our lives as we participate in his life with the Father and the Spirit.