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.
Matt. 4:19 And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
John 15:8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
Do you ever sense that you were made to matter, to make a difference, for some ultimate purpose? God did in fact make you for a purpose. You have a destiny that touches eternity. But it is so marred by darkness that only Jesus can reclaim it for you. This weekend we are going to pull the “Follow Me” series together. Everything we have studied in this series has an ultimate purpose.
Those who followed Jesus first needed to know the purpose of following. What was the end game, the point? They needed focus & purpose for their lives that came from Jesus. It wasn’t just about what they got. It wasn’t just about how they felt or where they ended up. What did Jesus say were they supposed to do, to live for?
One of the worst feelings we face as Christ followers is self-condemnation. We confessed our sin; embraced faith felt the joy of a renewed life in Him and then wham! Some old behavior that we thought was long gone shows itself in our lives again. What a jerk! Scumbag, pervert. Calling ourselves the worst names in the book we feel more broken and messed up than ever. We should be further along. Past that same old sin by now. Our accuser whispers and we dog pile on ourselves forgetting whose voice started the conversation. In self-condemnation we wonder, “how could I be so bad? Is my faith real? Is God really with me, in me, for me? How could he ever love me?”
This week’s passage touches on the struggle of self-condemnation. What can we do when it leads to swirling doubts about our relationship with God? We all have times that we doubt our salvation. Our sin even if invisible to others shows itself to us. Satan, our accuser, quickly magnifies it and keeps it ever in front of us. He throws it up in our face telling us we are fake and unworthy of God’s grace.
God wants to set us free from the destructive cycle of self- condemnation. Focus on defeating my sin, cleaning my sin, hiding my sin, understanding my sin will do nothing to help in comparison to trusting Jesus and letting Him forgive, clean & heal my sin.
Our Father gently brings perspective by reminding us of some core things. First He already knows the truth about us. He knows all we are and have done. His grace is stronger than our sin. His judgment trumps our own. There is nothing you or I could ever be part of that is beyond the reach of His grace.
Second. What God wants most of us is trust in Jesus. Notice, not holiness, goodness, or moral perfection. Those things come as a result of faith in Jesus in God’s time through the Spirit’s work. God dwells intimately with those who simply truly trust their lives to Jesus.
There is another bottom line truth He reveals that is the ultimate source of confidence in the face of our self-condemnation. But I’ll let you look for it on your own. Reflect on 1John 3:18-24 this weekend. We’ll tackle it together at worship on Sunday.