Saturday, July 6, 2013

Colossians 3:4-5

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"
Colossians 3:4-5

This is interesting stuff.  The first part of it seems to be talking about the resurrection.  Our lives are wrapped up in Christ... when he comes again, the resurrection will come, and we will rise to meet him, if we've lived good lives and are ready to come forth in the first resurrection.  And in order to prepare for that, the next verse.  We need to teach ourselves, body and mind, how to be like Christ.  We need to control ourselves, both action and thought.  But it isn't some power-willpower thing where we are just forcing ourselves to hold back.  Where we ARE this person over here, but we force ourselves to think and act like this ALIEN so that we can make heaven.  We try to talk ourselves into crap like that all the time.  We are who we are, but if God doesn't like it, then we'll pretend to be some mutation of ourselves in order to please him, and all of that repression and pain are just the price we pay for salvation.  Nice idea, but no.  God doesn't want our miserable, repressed selves.  It doesn't work that way.  If we really think that we can't change who we are, and we like ourselves that way, then we can go hang out with the other people who are like that, and accept that we aren't going to be hanging out with God.  But God tells us that we aren't locked into anything we don't want to be.  And we can change, completely, if we want to.
Have you ever felt that?  Looked at something that you just did, or that you've done in the past and realized that you didn't want to be the person that did that?  Haven't we all regretted our actions and even our thoughts?  And too often we think that is just who we are, but it isn't.  We're here to learn... to CHANGE.  We don't have to keep being the person that we were when we were 4, or 14, or 24, or 34, or any age.  We get to keep the best parts and throw out the bad parts.  That's what it means to be human... to have a choice.  Part of that choice includes choosing who we are going to be from day to day.  And yes, it takes work and it takes time, but if we start, and we have God's help, we can effect those changes in our lives.
I'm not saying that we need to cast off labels if they help us.  Sometimes remembering that we are addicts is what helps us stay away from the addiction.  But if there is something we want to change about ourselves, we can.  We don't have to be chained to any action, desire, or sin.  The verses above talk about a lot of things... actions and desires, inner selves and outer selves.  All of these can be addressed by God.
I like the last part that says that covetousness is idolatry.  How true.  When we want something that much, we put it before God.  And isn't that true for the rest of the things on the list... and even with the belief that we can't change?  We want... whatever it is, the sin, the self-concept, the desire, the need to be right... more than we want God.  If, instead, we want God most, and put him first, then he will help us to change ourselves into who we want to be.  The people that care about others and work to bring Zion.  Even if that is not who we are now.
Today, let's love God more than we love our sins and our current selves.  Let's put God first, and let him help us to change ourselves into the people that we truly want to be.  Not repressed zombie automatons, but sincere, caring human beings who *want* to be here, building Zion.

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