It seems these days I wake a lot like a late summer sky. There is a lot or a little bit of fog and only the slightest glimpse of sun light most mornings and seems to take just a bit longer for the fog to clear. This morning is one of those mornings, but part of my prayers was for clarity when I came to God’s Word. I asked just to be able to see what was there for me today.
Some mornings I think I have a plan, or at least an idea, of what I want to study. Some days I am clueless. But regardless I know that the Lord will provide what I need for the day ahead, whether I fully understand it or not. This morning I had a bit of an Idea, but I was wrong. It became clear how wrong as I read my devotionals; I have several I enjoy.
Each devotional put me in Colossians 3, a bit of Ephesians 4 and Philippians 4. They all lined up pretty much in this order as well; Colossians being the biggest influence.
I prayed for direction today because things just were a bit of a blur for me. Friends in the hospital, other friends struggling, and even others arguing, and during it all I, wanted to do some fixin’. I was not sure how, but I still wanted to do some fixin’. But I got to Colossians 3:1 and it forced me to pause.
See I had been focusing on fixin’ things. Putting an end to the arguing, helping my friends get their mind right and get better. But then I read this passage.
Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
You see, I had reverted to my old self. The fixer. The engineer. The guy that felt he needed to do something for his friends. In a second I had allowed myself to pick up the attributes of the old man that I had been before Christ Jesus saved me and I was driving with my own plan wanting God to approve it. Then I went just a bit further in Colossians.
I was rolling through the first four verses and I came to verse five. It was like hitting a deep pot hole in the road. One of those that is so deep your foot gets knocked off the accelerator. One minute I was reading about appearing in glory with Jesus and the next I was reminded I must put to death my old self.
Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
I read 5-11 and realized I was not dealing with these, but the passion I had for my friends was putting me out in front of God. I was forgetting who was really in control, and I had become my own idol. I stopped trusting God and was making my own plans, and that realization is humbling, because I know that no plan I could come up with could match what God has for these situations.
I thought about how easily I had allowed this to happen. How simple it was for a cloudy head to fall in to a deception of the adversary. I know better yet I allowed it to occur. But as Paul said in 1 Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
God did just that for me. He took me to His Word. He leads me through the passages I need to correct my behavior and remember who was in control. He not only reminded me once again to let the old man go but to pick up the new man I was in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that my strength was not in my own limbs or my own wisdom, but in Christ Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
My strength comes from them and my actions come from His guidance and wisdom. When I have no answer, He does. When I am confused or bewildered He will calm my spirit and set me in the right path. Sometimes that takes longer than I would like, but it is always worth the wait.
Paul gives the same council in Ephesians 4 that we must put away our old selves “24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24 ). That adversary is always lingering around trying to stir up those old emotions. Those old false needs of being in charge, and it is done so subtly it can slip in un-noticed. That is why we need the full armor of God, and His Word which is “the Sword of the Spirt”(Eph 6:17).
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Peter warns us as well about the adversary, and he adds a short phrase that struck me this morning.
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Did you catch it? It was being sober-minded. I never really gave it much weight until just now. As I said I was struggling this morning to clear my head. No, I had not been drinking. Those days have long since passed but I still was not thinking clearly. I was tired and I was thinking about my friend’s trouble while I was still in the fog. I should have waited. I should have fueled up on the Word FIRST and there would have been less chance of being deceived this morning. But that is the lesson learned.
Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
I am thankful for God’s Word and his gift of repentance and grace.
Father, thank you for being patient with me this morning though I was not patient with you. Forgive me Lord for being in such a rush to fix things beyond my control. Lord thank you for your Holy Word and the guidance or your Holy Spirit to help me see my error and your grace to give the opportunity to repent and correct my path. Thank you, father. I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen!