Walking in the overwhelm
I don't know about you, but this has been one overwhelming summer. Trying to walk like Jesus with His faith and His peace has challenged me...in a good way.
For those who don't know, I am an educator and parent. With all of the uncertainties of teaching ahead and with the death of my father behind, it has been hard to rejuvenate and rest this summer.
Lately, our family dinner convos have focused on the upcoming school year. Our son is excited for another year, but he's also heard me talk about my anxieties about teaching during a pandemic.
So, I've had to pause and think, Am I also expressing enduring hope rooted in Christ in the midst of this craziness?
I can't tell you for certain the hardships facing the Colossians in Paul's letter, but they had to make an intentional choice with their faith as well...
- To walk in the light of Christ and the Gospel, or
- To walk in the shadows of something else
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)
Receiving the life of Jesus
How did you receive Christ? Here's a quick list based on Paul's discussions with the Colossians and from other places in the Bible. You have received...
- The full Wisdom of God through Jesus
- Reconciliation to the Father through the blood of the Son
- New life through His resurrection and the indwelling Holy Spirit
- Freedom from sin so you can live in righteousness
- Christ as our righteousness
- A call to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, to put their needs ahead of our own, and to wash their feet
- A coming Kingdom where one day all of Creation will be restored under the righteous rule of Messiah
Walking like Jesus is living like Jesus
Paul's concluding connection here is powerful and challenging. If you have received freedom, new life, a coming Kingdom, and (enter any item from above), then you are to walk in that reality.
Biblically, walking implies your way of living. The path you choose to take.
Walking like Jesus by His power...
A quick aside: You can't try walking like Jesus. He's not a fad or guru to emulate. The Bible shows the power of transformation belongs to Jesus. He's already accomplished righteousness and salvation on your behalf.
This means, walking like Jesus is accessible through His power, not your own. This is comforting and humbling, right?
As well, Jesus has made you a partner in your sanctification–that process of becoming like Him. He's taking you on the journey, clothing you with Himself and renovating you.
But, trying to walk like Jesus without having been born again is an impossible standard that leads to despair. If you belong to Christ, though, it is a growing delight to walk like Him. The Holy Spirit guides you in truth. He empowers you to walk out a life saturated in the King's character.
A life of thanksgiving...
Oh, and I love how Paul tacks on that final phrase "...abounding in thanksgiving." It seems Paul had me in his sights. He knows I'm a natural complainer! 😅
I think Paul knows a life "established in the faith" is a life marked by overflowing thanksgiving. Jesus modeled this so well...
- Jesus praised God over broken bread and a meal with friends.
- He abounded in praise though His own body was broken.
- Jesus thanked the Father for His disciples.
- He also thanked God for those who'd come to know Him centuries later.
His circumstances never dictated his "abounding" praise. Instead, thanksgiving connected all of Jesus' moments, whether joyful or sorrowful.
To walk in Christ means to live a life saturated by His character.
So, in the middle of this overwhelming summer, Paul encourages you to...
- Saturate yourself with Christ's character.
- Abound in praise and thanksgiving.
- Live more like Jesus by walking like Him.
And if ever you feel you're walking in the shadows, lean on Jesus and ask for help. He's already prayed for you to make it.
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