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Archive for the ‘devotional’ Category

Disciplines

At the Cor Deo Conference on Saturday (mp3s to follow) there was a great question on Bible reading.  It was addressed to Ron and he both answered at the time and has written some more thoughts here.  I thought I’d add my two-pence, because, well, that’s what I do.  Whether invited to or not.

The question of disciplines arises whenever you emphasize God’s approach to us in Christ, over and above our approach to Him.  Well then, people ask, what place does our devotional life have?

I attempted to answer that with the preface to my own devotional, but let me put it another way.

On Saturday I spoke of the difference between a medieval system of salvation and the gospel announcement of Christ as Saviour.  Bible reading happens in both paradigms.  But in the system, it’s a rung on the ladder.  In the announcement paradigm, it’s a revelation.

Here’s the thing – when I haven’t read my Bible for a while and/or when I’m in a bit of a spiritual slump, the devil plays a brilliant trick on me.  He adopts the voice of an earnest religious devotee and says “Ah Glen, what a pity you’re so far from God.  But not to worry” he says, masquerading as a spiritual adviser, “two weeks of solid Bible reading and you’ll be back on top of your game.”  Ug, I think.  And so I slide deeper into my spiritual sulk.

The system paradigm just doesn’t get me reading.  But what if I realize the gospel?  What if I tell myself, “Closeness to God does not lie on the other side of two weeks hard graft!  Closeness to God is IN JESUS.  And that’s where I am.  Let’s pick up this gracious word and be reminded.”

If I’m believing in the system, I might open the Bible but only to receive a lecture, or a to-do list.  More often I’ll leave it closed.

If I realize I’ve already arrived, you never know, I might just open the Bible, eager to receive Christ!

 

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I’ve been thinking about suffering recently.

Easter tells you everything you need to know. Meditate on each of these truths for 5 minutes and it will revolutionize your thinking about God, yourself and the world.

1) The Cross shows us God’s perfection…

Therefore suffering can never be incompatible with the all-wise, all-powerful, all-good God (1 Corinthians 1-2)

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2) The Resurrection shows us God’s purpose…

Therefore His plan has never been to pretty up this old creation but to raise it anew (1 Corinthians 15:36-50)

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3) The Son of Man must suffer and be glorified…

If that’s the route for The Man how could man tread any other path.

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4) On the Day of Man (6th day), Jesus puts us to death. On the Day of Rest (7th day), He finishes the old creation. On the Day of New Creation (8th day), He rises into a whole new week, a whole new world.

Christ’s purpose is not simply to restore Paradise but to bring us into a reality greater than anything we’ve seen. 

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Self-pity is, for me, like a low-level virus, a background throb, a sapping sickness.  It heavies my bones and fizzies my blood.

But the other day I gained instant relief.  I was reading Psalm 103 in the King James version.  Verse 13 says:

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.

Could this be true?  Does the LORD Himself pity me?  Yes.  With fatherly affection and concern.  I provoke the heart-felt pity of the living God.

You might think this would confirm my dreadful indulgence.  After all, heaven seems to agree with my self-obsession.  Actually no.  He pities the fool who pities himself.  In spite of my wallowing, the LORD’s pity is a great ‘nonetheless.’

A father whose child cries only for attention may still choose to pick up the boy, spin him round and kiss him.  He is not caving into the child’s manipulation.  Instead He is loving from his own free grace.  And the boy is weaned from self by the love of another.

In the same way our Father in heaven reaches down in His Son to self-pitying wretches.  And He lifts us up, not to confirm our self-centredness but to replace it.  Now that heaven pities me, I simply have no need.  What could my own self-preoccupation add to the divine pre-occupation of the LORD, who sets His affections on me?

And so this verse brought a tremendous release.  Just as the LORD’s love frees us from self-love, His service frees us from self-service, so His pity frees us from self-pity.

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This is part of the Preface to The King’s English.  Here I explain the point of daily ‘Bible time.’

To live by faith means looking to Jesus for all our hope, joy and peace. In doing so we recognise that we have no spiritual resources within ourselves.  Instead we must constantly seek the gracious gift of Christ, given to us by the Spirit. The Christian life is a constant dependence on the Word from beyond. Every day I must hear of His grace and trust Him afresh. Why? Because every day I forget His good news and live in the flesh.

The Scriptures are where we meet the risen Christ.  We read the Bible, not as a spiritual offering but as a desperate receiving.  We open the Bible not to impress God, but that He might impress us again with His gospel.  We approach our daily devotions as beggars asking our gracious Father to please feed us again with the Bread of life.

In the history of the church there has been no better description of the Bible than: ‘The Spirit’s testimony to the Son.’  It is not a road map or an instruction manual for life.  It is a biography of Jesus: commissioned by the Father, authored by the Spirit and addressed to the church.

With this in mind, I’ve not written a daily pep-talk to inspire you to greater deeds. I have no idea what you face day to day. Most of the time, neither do you.  What I do know is this, whatever you face, you need Jesus. My prayer is that you will meet Him as you read the Scriptures.

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Recently a man came to the prayer centre where I work in great turmoil.  He said “I invited Jesus into my heart 10 years ago and I think I meant it and I think I felt His presence.  But I don’t feel His presence any more.  I think I’ve finally quenched the Spirit through my sins and now He’s left me.”

The guy seemed to know his bible very well.  So I said “Can you think of a single verse that ever talks about ‘inviting Jesus into your heart’?”

He thought and said “No, I suppose it’s not in the bible.”  I said, “But you know what is in the bible…?”  We spoke of the High Priest’s clothing in Exodus 28 and 29.

“Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth–six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other.  Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD….”Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD.   (Exodus 28:9-29)

“Here’s the bottom line” I said “Christ, your High Priest has you on His heart.  My feelings go up and down.  Christ stays up – all the time.  And you’ll only feel Him in your heart (sporadically) when you know you’re on His heart, forever.”

The centre of the Christian life is not your personal relationship with God.  The centre of the Christian life is Christ’s personal relationship with God.  But the good news is – Christ includes you in His communion.

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No PDAs

How do you respond to PDAs?

Cringe?

Tut-tut?

Feel superior?

What about PDAs for Jesus?

What if someone expresses costly, counter-cultural public affection for Jesus in your workplace, in your family, on the streets or even in church. Do you cringe?

alabasterIn Mark 14:1-11 we see a woman break open a jar of perfume worth tens of thousands of pounds. And she expends it all in a public display of affection for Jesus.

Jesus likes it.  He thinks, v6, it’s a beautiful thing. Verse 8 He says ‘she has anointed my body for burial’.  No-one would get the chance to do this after His death.  Jesus was an early riser you see.  So here the woman takes her opportunity in fulfilment of Song of Songs 1:12:

“While the King was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.”

She plays the part of the beloved and the King thinks it’s beautiful.

Judas does not think it’s beautiful.  We know from the other gospels that he was the one leading the protest from v4: He thinks it’s a waste.  It could have been sold and given to the poor.

But of course Judas wasn’t going to sell the perfume and give money to the poor. He was going to sell Jesus and get money for himself.

But it’s a shocking contrast.  One follower of Jesus is moved to heart-felt, all-out devotion, centred on His death. Another follower of Jesus is repulsed by such devotion.  And this event is a significant tipping point for Judas to betray Jesus.

Prior to the moment of betrayal, Judas’s hard heart is never more exposed than here.  He kept up such a good pretence the rest of the time.  But here – in the presence of vulnerable abandonment and adoration – the true state of his heart is exposed.  Nothing threatens the impostor more than genuine love for Jesus.  He sees the woman’s devotion and he thinks the focus is all wrong.

‘Stop focussing on Jesus.  Go out and do stuff in Jesus’ name.  Go and be Jesus to the poor.’  That was Judas’s attitude.  Actual love for Jesus made him extremely uncomfortable.

So then, next time you’re tempted to disdain certain Christian music as ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ worship…

Next time you criticize some street-preacher’s unenlightened methods…

Next time you feel superior to some simple saint’s devotional sweetness while crediting yourself with getting out and doing the work…

Maybe, just maybe, that’s the spirit of Judas.

You must know that a Christian is nothing if they are not a lover of Jesus.

If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him.  (1 Corinthians 16:22)

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In Jesus’ name [repost]

Jesus prayingWhat does it mean to pray in Jesus’ name?

Here’s Jesus Himself using the phrase ‘in my name’:

Many will come in my name, saying ‘I am He’ and will lead many astray.  (Mark 13:6)

This is a very strong understanding of ‘in my name’.  Here to act “in Jesus’ name” is to act as Jesus and to appear to others as Jesus.

Well now – Jesus Himself asks you to pray to the Father ‘in His name’ (John 14:13,14; 15:16; 16:23).  So when you come to the Father, come as Jesus.  Come as son, come as christ (anointed one).  Call on God Most High with Jesus’ own cry – ‘Abba, Father’ (Mark 14:36 <=> Gal 4:6).  By the Spirit, you are so identified with the Son in prayer that you pray as Jesus.  And the Father hears you as His very own Beloved.

Jesus does not point the way to prayer, nor simply blaze a trail and ask you to follow along.  He incorporates you into Himself in His own self-offering to the Father.  As you pray you are not outside the Trinity.  But neither are you a fourth member of the Trinity.  You are in Christ, filled with the  Spirit of adoption, calling on your Abba, Father.

That’s prayer “in Jesus’ name.”  But of course we do all of life – whether in word or deed – “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).  We don’t only approach the Father “clothed in Christ”, we approach the world “clothed in Christ.”  That’s our true identity.  More true than any phony masks we wear.

I say this stuff with glib assurance but as I write I realise I have no idea of the magnitude of Christ’s mediation both to God but also the world!

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gold

Maybe your earthly father had short arms and deep pockets.  Or long arms and shallow pockets.  Or crossed arms and closed pockets.

Your Father in heaven is different.

He’s rich beyond your wildest imaginings.  6 times Paul says it in Ephesians (1:7,18; 2:4,7; 3:8,16).

He’s rich – rich I tells ya.  And it’s just the normal word for wealthy. Loaded. Rolling in it.  Stinking, filthy rich.  Like Abraham (Gen 13:2), like Solomon (1 Kings 3:13), like ‘the rich man’ (Mark 10:25).  Your Father is no pauper.

And neither is He a miser.  He lavishes His children with every treasure at His disposal.  First, He commits all things into the hands of His Son (John 3:35).  The nations are His inheritance (Ps 2:8).  The whole creation is a love gift for Him (Col 1:15-16).  But for the sake of His Son, and so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8:29), the Father brings us into His inheritance. We become objects of the Father’s lavish philanthropy.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  (Eph 2:4-5)

We weren’t just dirt poor, we’d bitten the dust – dead in transgressions and sins.  Yet even in that lowest of gutters God’s riches were lavished on us – His riches in mercy – to make us alive with Christ.  Not only this…
In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us  (Eph 1:7-8)
 Now in Christ we are lavished with freedom and forgiveness of our sins.  And we stand as witnesses to heaven and earth of how generous is our Father in bestowing such treasures:
  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  (Eph 2:6-7)
 God is rich and will be known as rich.

But perhaps you don’t feel able to appreciate this wealth.  Maybe you’re not feeling the benefits of this incredible union with Christ?  Well God’s riches aren’t just for the bestowal of grace, they enable you to appreciate these blessings too:

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith  (3:16-17)

You know what this means?  God even has riches that awaken us to the riches He’s already bestowed!  Talk about grace upon grace.

And if we despair that we don’t already possess these riches in their fullness, Paul has another prayer:

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:18)

What a day of sumptuous opulence and overwhelming prosperity when we are heirs of God, co-heirs of the cosmos with Christ and when God Himself inherits us His saints.

What can we do in the meantime except…

…to preach to the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8)

Christ is the storehouse of the Father’s overflowing bounty.  We beggars, who’ve gotten rich quick, tell the world where to find true wealth.

So rejoice.  Daddy’s rich.

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Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,  but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake… Jesus said to them: “Take courage! I AM. Don’t be afraid.”  (Matthew 14:23-27)

There He is – communing with His Father on high.

There are His people, buffeted by the waves.

What does He do?  Simply pray for them?  Give advice from a distance?  No, He joins them.

He walks through the storm and treads on the abyss and does everything in His power to be with His beloved.  Fighting through the powers of chaos, He declares His divine name – I AM.  Here is the One who descends into His people’s affliction to bring them out.

So take courage.  Fear not.  The I AM has come to bring us home.

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On the King’s English I’ve been thinking about a triune creation.

In the beginning

Let there be light

Let us make man in our image

Be fruitful and multiply

Behold, it was very good

God rested

The Breath of Life

It’s really striking me how profligate is the triune God of grace.  The Father, Son and Spirit bubble over in love.  A unitarian god needs creation.  And all relations between such a creator and its creature are quid pro quo arrangements.  The triune God does nothing about of necessity.  It’s all about gift and free overflow.

We can genuinely say “You really didn’t have to.”  And the Lord will reply, “I know, but I wanted to.”

So my friend, whoever you are.  Know in your heart: You are entirely unnecessary.  Entirely.  Unnecessary.  You are a profligate extravagance, a superfluous addendum, a needless flourish.  The Lord, His universe, His church, His kindgom purposes could so easily do without you.  You are completely surplus to requirements.

And you say “I need to be needed!  If my children don’t need me, I’ll fall apart.  If my church doesn’t need me, I’ll crumble.  If my work doesn’t need me, who am I?”

But you don’t need to be needed.  You only think you need to be needed because you’ve forgotten you’re loved.  So let me remind you…

You are wanted.  You are desired.  And not for anything ‘you offer.’  You are surplus to requirements.  But our God doesn’t deal in requirements, He enjoys the surplus.  He delights in you.

Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.  (Eph 2:4-5)

You are entirely unnecessary, but utterly loved.

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From today’s evening and morning (ht Paul Blackham):

“My sister, my spouse.”

— Song of Solomon 4:12

Observe the sweet titles with which the heavenly Solomon with intense affection addresses his bride the church. “My sister, one near to me by ties of nature, partaker of the same sympathies. My spouse, nearest and dearest, united to me by the tenderest bands of love; my sweet companion, part of my own self. My sister, by my Incarnation, which makes me bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh; my spouse, by heavenly betrothal, in which I have espoused thee unto myself in righteousness. My sister, whom I knew of old, and over whom I watched from her earliest infancy; my spouse, taken from among the daughters, embraced by arms of love, and affianced unto me for ever. See how true it is that our royal Kinsman is not ashamed of us, for he dwells with manifest delight upon this two-fold relationship. We have the word “my” twice in our version; as if Christ dwelt with rapture on his possession of his Church. “His delights were with the sons of men,” because those sons of men were his own chosen ones. He, the Shepherd, sought the sheep, because they were his sheep; he has gone about “to seek and to save that which was lost,” because that which was lost was his long before it was lost to itself or lost to him. The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord; none else may claim a partnership, or pretend to share her love. Jesus, thy church delights to have it so! Let every believing soul drink solace out of these wells. Soul! Christ is near to thee in ties of relationship; Christ is dear to thee in bonds of marriage union, and thou art dear to him; behold he grasps both of thy hands with both his own, saying, “My sister, my spouse.” Mark the two sacred holdfasts by which thy Lord gets such a double hold of thee that he neither can nor will ever let thee go. Be not, O beloved, slow to return the hallowed flame of his love.

 

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You have looked on me as though I were the Most Exalted of Men, O LORD God.  (1 Chronicles 17:17)

 

 

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Today is the anniversary of Blaise Pascal’s night of fire.  He turned decisively from the god of the philosophers and found Jesus Christ, the true and living God:

The year of grace 1654
Monday, 23 November.
From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight. 

Fire
‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
‘Thy God shall be my God.’
The world forgotten, and everything except God.
He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
Greatness of the human soul.
‘O righteous Father, the world had not known thee, but I have known thee.’
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
‘My God wilt thou forsake me?’
Let me not be cut off from him for ever!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I have cut myself off from him, shunned him, denied him, crucified him.
Let me never be cut off from him!
He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Sweet and total renunciation.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and my director.
Everlasting joy in return for one day’s effort on earth.
I will not forget thy word. Amen.

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wait2

[A repost]

Ever noticed how much the theme of waiting comes up in the Scriptures?

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Two examples from the OT.

People waiting for Jesus:

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In Genesis 49 we see the kings from Judah promised as throne-warmers for the Universal King (v10).  In the midst of Jacob’s many prophesies he says:

“For Your Yeshua I will wait O LORD.”  (Gen 49:18)

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Let’s leap over loads more and land on Psalm 130:5-8:

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.  He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

The LORD Himself is coming to redeem His people.  Wait for Him.  Watch for Him.  Put your hope in Him – which is strictly parallel to putting your hope in His word (interesting parallel).

Well the Universal King came and He offered full redemption.  So NT people are not people of waiting right?  Wrong.

Hebrews 9:28 explains:

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

What’s the distinguishing mark of the Christian?  Waiting for Jesus.

I could pick loads more but what about 1 Thes 1:9-10; 2 Tim 4:8 and Jude 21:

You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead–Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Do you have “expectant” mothers in your church?  I hope you’re not dumb enough to ask them whether they’ve given birth yet.  But if you were to ask them how they’re doing, you’ll invariably get the response, “Still waiting.”  There’s an event in the future that’s coming and it changes everything in the present.  How you doing?  Waiting.

That’s the Christian’s outlook on life.  Waiting for God’s Son from heaven, longing for His appearing, waiting for His mercy and eternal life.

Do you miss Jesus?  Is there a yearning for face-to-face with the Lord who died for you?

When I was engaged to my wife we were on opposite sides of the planet.  In fact we did long-distance for over a year.  But here’s what kept me faithful to her.  And more than faithful, here’s what kept our long-distance relationship positively vibrant.  We were waiting for our wedding day.  And that expectancy shaped virtually every minute of our lives.  Simply waiting for this future state rendered any notions of infidelity unthinkable.  Waiting was not an absence of activity.  It wasn’t a lack that necessarily needed filling.  It was not a nothing preceding a something.  It was a something of enormous substance.  Waiting in this sense is a tangible reality.

So it is with the Christian.

When we’re asked how we’re doing, perhaps we should respond like the ‘expectant’ mum or the engaged couple.  How am I? Still waiting.

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Below is a repost from last year.  But I think it relates well to recent thoughts about identity.

I want to be clear:  I don’t think my status-anxiety will be solved by simple self-denial and a “chin-up” resolve to ignore my aching existential angst.  No, I need to be wooed from my self-preoccupation.  And not by a G-O-D who demands I be as pre-occupied with him as he is.  I am wooed from self by a loving Lord who’s set His affection on me.

When I see Him truly I cannot help but see that He is for me.   Therefore I don’t need to be.  If I properly see Him in His utter self-giving for my sake it doesn’t actually confirm my self-obsession (though you might think it would).  Instead I’m released into His life of other-centredness.  And in that I become the real me.

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Self-pity is, for me, like a low-level virus, a background throb, a sapping sickness.  It heavies my bones and fizzies my blood.

But the other day I gained instant relief.  I was reading Psalm 103 in the King James version.  Verse 13 says:

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.

Could this be true?  Does the LORD Himself pity me?  Yes.  With fatherly affection and concern.  I provoke the heart-felt pity of the living God.

You might think this would confirm my dreadful indulgence.  After all, heaven seems to agree with my self-obsession.  Actually no.  He pities the fool who pities himself.  In spite of my wallowing, the LORD’s pity is a great ‘nonetheless.’

A father whose child cries only for attention may still choose to pick up the boy, spin him round and kiss him.  He is not caving into the child’s manipulation.  Instead He is loving from his own free grace.  And the boy is weaned from self by the love of another.

In the same way our Father in heaven reaches down in His Son to self-pitying wretches.  And He lifts us up, not to confirm our self-centredness but to replace it.  Now that heaven pities me, I simply have no need.  What could my own self-preoccupation add to the divine pre-occupation of the LORD, who sets His affections on me?

And so this verse brought a tremendous release.  Just as the LORD’s love frees us from self-love, His service frees us from self-service, so His pity frees us from self-pity.

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He is the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace… Get up from your beds of sloth; rise from your chambers of ease; go forth, go forth to pray, to labor, to suffer; go forth to live in purity, leaving Babylon behind; go forth to walk with him alone, leaving even your kinsfolk and acquaintance if they will not follow with you. Wherefore tarriest thou at home when the King is abroad? “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, come ye forth to meet him…”

Today let your eye rest upon him. Let your eye behold the head that today is crowned with glory, wearing many crowns. Behold ye, too, his hands which once were pierced, but are now grasping the scepter. Look to his girdle where swing the keys of heaven, and death, and hell. Look to his feet, once pierced with iron, but now set upon the dragon’s head. Behold his legs, like fine brass, as if they glowed in a furnace. Look at his heart, that bosom which heaves with love to you, and when you have surveyed him from head to foot exclaim, “Yea, he is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.”

Spurgeon

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Four simple questions and four (perhaps) surprising answers regarding Colossians 3:10:

Put on the new self (the new man), which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

1) Who is the Creator referred to?

In context you’d think it was Christ, who is the Creator Image of God (Col 1:15-17)

2) What gets renewed?

The “new self” gets renewed.  It’s not simply that we are renewed by getting a new self.  And it’s not simply that we are given a new self.  We are given a new self and the new self is renewed.

3) How does renewal happen?

Knowledge.  Note all the knowledge language of the letter.  This is just from chapter 1:
“heard… word of truth… gospel… learned… understood… all its truth… knowledge… spiritual wisdom… understanding… increasing in knowledge… make the word of God fully known… Him we proclaim… teaching everyone with all wisdom.”
We desperately and continually need gospel knowledge to be renewed.

4) What does our Creator look like (given that we’re supposed to look like Him)?

He is compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forbearing, forgiving – in a word: He is love (v12-14).  We know that these character-traits originally belong to the Lord because a) it says “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” and b) these virtues are outlined in the context of our becoming like Him.

So we don’t become forgiving, humble and meek because God will hold us to account and He’s big and powerful.  We are forgiving, humble and meek because He is forgiving, humble and meek.  And He has demonstrated it at the cross.

 

Therefore as we appreciate and know the goodness of this good news our new selves are being renewed to look like Him – the compassionate and humble God.

Surprised by any of those answers?

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Want fresh joy?

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD

Isaiah 29:19

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