What I Found in God’s Word to Support True Friendship
Devoted—–1 Corinthians 13:4
In Harmony—-Ephesians 4:3
Patient——-1 Thessalonians 5:14
A really good example of friendship can be found between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18-20. I, especially, like 1 Samuel 18:14 where Jonathan loves David as his own soul. The two of them make a covenant with one another. Reading further you will find that Jonathan tries to protect David from his father, Saul, who wants to kill David.
Much later in 2 Samuel, I read about Jonathan’s death and in chapter 9 David remembers his covenant with Jonathan and sent for Mephiboseth and restored to him all that was Saul’s. Therefore friendship goes a long way and it runs deep. You can’t find a better example than this.
My prayer: Dear God, thank you ever so much for the people in my life that I am blessed to call friend. Grant each of them an extra measure of grace and peace today. Have mercy on them. Amen.
What is a Paradigm Shift?
A paradigm is a framework of basic assumptions and ways of thinking about something, for example, a worldview. A paradigm shift is a change in those assumptions and ways of thinking to another point of view. Often it is not easy to make the change. However, this shift is exactly what the Apostle Paul is wanting believers to do. Think of it like crossing a bridge to the other side of a great chasm.
Put to Death What is Earthly in you.
We pick up the post on Put on the New Self, part 1. We are focusing on Colossians chapter 3. In part 1, we covered Colossians 3:1-4. Today’s passage is verse 5-7.
“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,” (ESV).
You might ask, how does one put to death that which is earthly in us? Good question! This is where the paradigm shift begins. Here we will use scripture to interpret scripture. Romans 6:13a reads, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.” We are to choose not to sin.
The earthly things that we are to put to death are listed in the second half of verse 5 above. Ephesians 5:3 tells us that sexual impurity and all impurity or covetousness must not even be mentioned among us as is proper among the saints. Covetousness is referred to as idolatry (Eph. 5:5). Idolatry is the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of a god. So when one desires what someone else has, one is putting that desire before God in one’s life.
We are not Helpless. We have a Helper.
However, we are not left helpless. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “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.” Therefore, as followers of Christ, we have a way to avoid the temptation to sin and God will provide that way out. God gives us the power to put to death that which is earthly in us through the study of His word, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
To summarize, the paradigm shift is not only to see our sins as God does but to have a desire to put them to death. The Holy Spirit enables us to resist temptation and will convict us when we have a need for it.
Next in the series: Put Away Old Habits.
Putting on the New Self
My focus is on putting on the new self as mentioned in Colossians 3:10.
This week, I will be mining Colossians chapter 3:1-17. Let’s begin with verses 1-4,“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.” (ESV).
There is a lot here. First, take a look at the ‘If then.’ I think of this the same way I do the ‘therefore.’ It implies a connection with what came before this chapter. Looking back at chapter 2 it is verses 5 -7 that grab my focus. Colossians 2:5-6,“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. 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.”
To clarify, Paul is expressing to the Colossians his feelings for them as they persevere in faith. They are rooted and built up in Christ for this Paul rejoices. This is what brings us to the ‘If then.’ Being rooted and established in our faith in Christ, we are to seek things that above and set our minds on higher things. For our lives are hidden in Christ with God. Hidden means kept out of sight; concealed. Set means put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position.
In conclusion, we are to put, lay, or stand our minds on things that are above (higher things, Isaiah 55:8-9) because we are concealed in Christ with God. Christ is our life. In Him we move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
It takes discipline to set our minds on things above but we are not helpless. For we have the help of the Holy Spirit to become disciplined disciples of Jesus. In doing so all things will grow strangely dim. And through our trials we will prevail for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Next in the series: A Paradigm Shift.
So what do you need to do to set your mind on things above and not on earthly things? What things are your setting your mind on?
What is a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving?
Let us look at Psalm 50:14-15, 23 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God (ESV)!”
What does it mean to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?
I believe this is when I offer God thanksgiving when my world seems to be caving in. My sacrifice of thanksgiving brings Him glory and He hears my prayers and delivers me from my trouble. To the one who orders his/her way rightly God will show His salvation. I understand this to be that He will provide a way out and carry me through it all. In all situations I am to give thanks, not for all situations. Something that I have often given thanks for are accidents that could have happened but didn’t while driving here and there. I give Him thanks for life itself. Hence, an attitude of gratitude changes one’s outlook on life. I am thankful for new friends and the changes God is making in my life.
However, I know this is easier said than done but it is most rewarding and what I am called to do.
When have you had the opportunity to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?
In my next post, I will focus on Colossians 3:5-17; Putting off the Old Self and Putting on the New Self.
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me.
Treasures are from God Above.
I thought that today I would focus on the treasures that God has given me as I put Him first and how I look at things differently. In every situation, there is something to be thankful for and to consider as a gift from God. For instance, when I left Las Vegas God had brought snow to the mountain tops and instead of complaining for the colder temps I thought what a send off for the mountains were beautiful. Another of His gifts was the pleasure of sitting with Jamilia from Australia. You see, my older son has a fascination with Australia. She was returning to Perth, Australia, after a 5-week journey to Trinidad and back. Only God could have done that knowing what a treasure this would be. I have her picture to treasure.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV)
God does not change! Just today talking with a new friend and a treasure, J.R., I realized how amazing that is. God’s love, mercy, grace, and compassion never change. Think about this for a moment! We would not still be here if God changed. He is the only being that does not change. Think how many times that you change your mind in a day let alone a week. If God was like this we would all be dead.
What treasures can you find to give God thanks for today? Give Him thanks for being unchangeable! Count your blessings. Go and tell someone. It is good to share. An attitude of gratitude will lift your spirit. Therefore, rejoice in the Lord, again I say rejoice! Praise the Lord now and forever!
Mining Proverbs 2:3-5, 10-11 for Understanding.
You can find the word understanding in several places in God’s Word. Have you ever taken the time to contemplate its meaning? I want to explore it in the above passage.
Let us first define it. It is the ability to understand something; comprehension. We find the word in verse 3, ‘…and raise your voice for understanding.’ Thus, we are to raise our voices to God for comprehension of His word. Verse 4 tells us ‘to seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures.’ Seek is defined as an attempt to find.
Therefore, we are to make every effort to seek insight and understanding as if we were searching for silver and hidden treasures. This is not a passive action but active and sought after with purpose and intent on finding it. God gives wisdom to those who ask without finding fault. He wants us to cry out to Him for understanding.
Furthermore, there is a reason we call out for it. This is given in verses 10-11. “For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant for your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you,” ESV.
This being said seeking insight, understanding, and wisdom from God is good. It benefits the heart and soul but one has to mine it as one would for silver and hidden treasure. But this will take time and determination. And I know it is well worth it.
Mine His Word for Yourself.
I pray that your mining God’s Word, as if for silver, will be rewarding.
Each person’s walk with Gods is different and unique. Hence, I am just sharing with you what I have learned because I want to give God the glory for what He is doing in my life.