It seems that the church has become a place that defines itself negatively. We are more known by what we are against than what we are for. For example, we are against abortion. We are against gays. We are against sex before marriage. We are against cussing, we are against Disneyland (some of us are any way!), we are against drinking,we are against smoking, we are against certain translations of the bible, we are against evolution, we are against … everything!
This is what happened with the Pharisees. In the “400 silent years” between the OT and the NT these religious leaders rose up to fill the God-gap. It might have started out innocent enough but before long they were legislating behavior externally and were negatively defined. They became the ‘No’ guys.
The resurrected life knows nothing of this negative orientation. We are invited to join God in the biggest YES of history. The resurrection is God’s exclamation point on history. The resurrection is God’s YES to hope, God’s YES to love, God’s YES to salvation, God’s YES to future glory.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.Read: Colossians 2:20-3:4
2 Corinthians 1:20
20 If you died with Christ from the elementary principles of the world, why, as though you still live in the world, do you subject yourselves to rules like, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch” 22 (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 23 Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, false humility and harsh treatment of the body. These lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
If then you were raised together with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.
You can live in the resurrected power of Jesus each day. You can journey with the Savior and enjoy life as it is supposed to be. There is life in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, there are some that are unwilling to journey with Jesus. They want to be in control of themselves and others. They seek to control impulses by stringent behavior. The world becomes a negative thing to be shunned and behavior modification is the order of the day.
Look at verses 2:20-23. Apparently these “believers” were trying to live in the negative (v.21). Paul has strong words for this:
1. Rules orientation works for a short while but eventually fails …the rules perish with the use (v.22)
2. These rules are created by men to try to control behavior externally (v.22)
3. These rules are deceitful for these “believers” because (v.23)
*They look like wisdom
*They lead to self-worship – led them to the wrong end
*They offer a false humility – strangely they became proud of themselves
*They require strict discipline
4. These rules do not work! They lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence (v.23)
Have you ever been around some of these “believers”? You can detect it in the way they walk; you can tell it in the way they talk. If you are sensitive you can tell that these are proud people, self-made religious people. I do not believe they wanted to end up like this. They are just on the wrong side of the resurrection equation.
Do you want to be different? Do you want to know the power of God in your life? Do you want to live in triumph to the glory of God? Do you want to deal with those nagging habits? Do you want to see the world the way God does? If so, it is time to get on the right side of the resurrection equation.
Look at verses 3:1-4. Paul commands these “believers” to live with a positive focus on Jesus:
1. Focus on things above (v. 1,2) – set your mind on things above not at things on the earth. That is the place where Jesus dwells in power. That is the place where God is glorified by angels and elders. That is the place where your Savior prepares a mansion for you. That is the place where Jesus will return from. That is your real home.
2. Focus on Jesus (v.1,3) – when we start with us or with our hobby horses or with our moral codes, etc. we are wrong. We are on the wrong side of the resurrection equation. We are to focus on Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and coming in glory. We are to be enraptured in Him. We are to love Him.
3. Focus on your future (v.4) – Christ is our life. He doesn’t want us focused on everything else (even good things), we are to focus on Him. Keep an eye on the future. Your glory is yet to be revealed. It will not be the glory of self-made religion but the glory of a childlike trust in Jesus. He is coming. We will be revealed.
Let’s wrap with a few simple questions: How negative are you? Try to listed to yourself this week. See what comes out of your heart through your mouth. They used to say, "If you ahve nothing good to say, say nothing at all." That might be a starting place! There is so much to be positive about (Jesus, things above, our future hope and glory, etc.). Are you on the right side of the resurrection equation?
What are you focused on? Be honest with yourself. Are you basically using Christianity as a self-help program or are you journeying with Jesus?
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.