Bible Notes

Things the Word is teaching me.

Continue as Begun (Colossians 2:6)

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him...

This is where I landed in the Bible yesterday morning, and I didn't get any farther than this one verse.  It's only half a sentence, but it gives me plenty to think about.

Let's look at it this way.  How do you receive Christ Jesus as Lord?

  • Via utter grace, with no reference to one's personal worthiness, either inherent or earned
  • By asking for it
  • Via personal connection in prayer (nobody else can ask for this or obtain it for you; you need to ask for it yourself)
  • Completely on the Lord's terms
  • Via childlike trust

I don't know if we really get that this is how we receive Jesus as Lord, when we first come to him.  This is my understanding now, after a long time of reading the Bible, listening to good teachers, and thinking.

If we don't understand that this is how we receive him, likewise I don't see how we can understand that this is how to continue in him.  This list is full of simple but hard things, things that really challenge our human self-reliance (not to mention our human selfishness).

Even though I am smarter about the truth of this list, it doesn't mean I've gotten a lot better at living according to it.

Thankfully grace is written in right at the start.  Through the Father's patient teaching I have learned this is how you receive Jesus as Lord, and through his patient guidance I am learning how to live by these same ideas.  Through his grace and generosity I have received, and I will continue to receive what I need in order to change.

So how do I do it?  How do I live, acknowledging that Christ Jesus is my Lord?  According to Colossians, I do it by the same means I received him in the first place:

  • Via utter grace, with no reference to my own personal worthiness, either inherent or earned
  • By asking for guidance and help
  • Via continued personal connection in prayer
  • Completely on my Lord's terms
  • Via childlike trust

Amen; I pray for God's help to live more and more according to this pattern.

Have I missed anything?  Would you add or delete anything from my list?

 

Trading Lives (Colossians 1:21-23)

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.

I followed a very grim line of thought for a while this morning:  who am I willing to die for?

Not in general, in specifics.  I considered my family, my brothers and their wives, my nieces and nephew, my parents, my close friends.  If it came down to me and one of them, would I trade my life for theirs?  Would I give up life so they could keep it?

It's a horrible sort of calculus and not at all the way I usually think.  This morning I fell into it because it was a grim, gray morning, the sort which requires strong measures if I don't want to nod off at my desk instead of journal, or follow every pointless flight of fancy instead of meditate on the Word and pray.  So to force my brain awake and keep it on task, I took to pacing my office and asking myself very direct questions about what I was reading -- ending with this most baldly direct consideration of my life's value, compared to people I love.

Because this is what Colossians says here, and what the Bible says over and over.  In a direct choice between my life and his, Jesus chose to give up his life so I could keep mine.  Not in any merely metaphorical sense.  He gave up his actual alive-living-life, he really and truly died, so I wouldn't.

Considering the question personally forces me to a deeper understanding of his choice and what it means.  Because the only people I can imagine readily trading life for are the people I love the most and wish the very best of life to.  It would still be hard, but the deepest love might just make it possible.

So apparently, when Jesus had to choose between himself and I, it seems the very deepest love is what guided his choice too.