“The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ & His people.” John Piper
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Colossians 3:18-19
The two verses above have been a landmine for many. That is NOT what God intends. Really they are a specific application of the overarching instruction in verse 17 about living a Jesus centered life. Last week I read this statement, “It would be a bold person who would claim that the modern secular world offers a better model for marriage and family life than what God calls for in the Bible.”
Many marriages are in sad shape in our world. People still dream of happily ever after marriages. But most fall short and many are afraid. More settle for “trial run” relationships without the kind of commitment that define true marriage from God’s perspective. We have either given up, or changed God’s standard. As a result, we miss the deeper joy and core intimacies through embracing Satan’s cleverly seductive lies.
Guest Blogger: David Shields
Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while his house lies in ruins?
The prophet Haggai comes to speak to the people of Israel soon after their return from exile out of Babylon. The people had been sent out of the land because of their sin and found themselves back in the land that God had promised them. However, instead of busying themselves with obedience, they have focused on themselves.
The basic rebuke from God is that the people have refused to build the temple and instead have upgraded their own homes. Building God’s house was supposed to be step one of obedience when they came home from Babylon. However, it did not even make their to-do list.
Col 3:12-17 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you
The Carnegie institute states the 90 percent of all people who fail in their work fail because they can’t get along with people. Something in us makes relationships hard. Our gut instinct, annoyances, and distaste for conflict drive us to avoid, eliminate or control others. Those we deal with most often are often the most challenging. We wish they would change. But we can’t make them. If we force it, we probably aren’t following Jesus in that moment.
Shouldn’t we have better relationship through our relationship with Jesus? Theoretically yes, but we must be intentional about following His lead. Three things become possible when we center our lives on Jesus. I encourage you to pick on as a starting place to start today an experience the difference He makes.
Embrace Jesus’ Heart of Grace Towards Others.
One of the reasons many people aren’t interested in Jesus is because they see people trapped by religion. People who seem addicted to spiritual activity or rules who practice religion in a way that bugs everyone around them. People who restrain themselves with incredible discipline yet lack real peace, joy, impact and sometime humility in their lives.
They see people who have fallen in spiritual traps and they instinctively know they don’t want that for themselves. Who would!!
Recognizing these traps is one thing, avoiding them is even better! Colossians 2:16-23 shows us three timeless spiritual traps that steal freedom and kill joy. These traps deceive by sending us down a road that will never lead to the deep peace of Christ. See which one is most likely to trip you up and make plans to avoid it.
#1 Avoid the Better Rules Trap.
Everyone hopes for a great life. We look different places and try different things searching to make that a reality. We drop some things right away discovering they weren’t what we thought. Other things seem good for a while but then either fade in effectiveness or turn on us.
Life seems like an unsolvable puzzle with the nagging sense that it is supposed to be better.
As a Jesus follower of nearly 45 years, I believe the centering my life on Jesus has hacked life’s puzzle. Jesus is Your Best Hope of a Secure & Significant Life. Why should anyone center their life on Jesus? Let me share some big reasons why.
What does it look like when a life is centered on Jesus? When a family is centered on Jesus? When a church is centered on Jesus? Why should we center on Jesus? How do we go about it? These are core questions God answers in the letter to the Colossian church.
There are such wide differences between groups that claim to be Christian churches that sometimes you wonder if they can really be the same thing?
Can you think of anything timelier for the American church? There are such wide differences between groups that claim to be Christian churches that sometimes you wonder if they can really be the same thing? We are not responsible for all of them We are responsible for the one we share life with. So, I invite you to dig in with me the next few weeks as we refocus ourselves on what Jesus wants of us as a family of His followers. Here is how we kicked things off:
Jesus Centered Means: Continually Deepening Your Understanding of What God Wants.
Our hearts have been polluted by darkness. As a result our gut instinct often points the wrong direction. The good news is God seeks to fill Jesus’ followers with His wisdom. The Bible calls Jesus the light of the world who came to lead us out of darkness. He does this by revealing the truth about our Creator & the life He intended for us.
Col. 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…
We all have something at the center of our lives that drives everything else. It might be an unstable shifting center. It might be rock solid. We might be very aware of it or it might be somewhat hidden & unknown to us. Can you see why this might matter? Life could be very frustrating if something is driving you without you being aware of it. It could be more frustrating if you are aware but naïve as your core driver is actually leading you to spiritual danger. Think Captain Ahab!
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23