Monday, October 5, 2015

Cold Coffee

                I have a tendency to make myself a nice hot cup of coffee, get busy doing something, and then by the time I get back to it, it is ice cold. Today I found myself thinking about that hot cup of coffee and how much I was looking forward to it before I got distracted and forgot about it. I will confess that my spiritual life has been much like that cup of coffee lately. I wake up with every intention of enjoying my time with Jesus, of sitting down to pray and study my bible, and to just be filled with the cup of His grace. But, instead of sitting down and drinking Him in, I set Him aside until that burst of passion I started with ends up being ice cold.

                Unfortunately for me, I realized that this pouring hot and setting down until it grows cold is more and more of a pattern for my spiritual life than it should be. I am a very passionate person, I always have been. I feel a lot. I don’t always like that about me, but when it comes to Jesus, there is nothing I desire to be more passion about than Him and His Word. Yet, there I am, pouring out a hot cup of spiritual coffee only to set it aside to chase after the distractions of my life. Not to mention that I am really getting tired of wasting all these delicious cups of coffee!
                “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
                I heard these verses in church yesterday and they have camped out in my heart ever since. If I have been raised with Christ? What does Paul mean by being raised with Christ and what does it have to do with my cold cups of spiritual coffee? First thing I think we need to understand is that to be raised with Christ means that we have received the new life that was given to us the moment we believed. We are new creations, we are no longer walking in the ways of the world, but we have been raised up from the futile ways of life before Christ. We have a new and blessed life that is fully dedicated to God, for God and with God. It is because of this new life that we now have a desire to seek those things that are above.
                What things are above? What things are we to be seeking? “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV) The Lord wants us to seek Him. The definition used in both these passages for seek means to keep on seeking. It implies someone who keeps putting one foot in front of the other and keeps on walking. I needed this reminder today. I needed the reminder that God has not moved, He has not gone anywhere. He is always and forever above, where He has always been, and where He will always be.
                We must fight through the distractions and the discouragement. We must fight through the feelings of hopelessness and believe that when we seek Him, when we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will find Him. So many times I give up so easily. I let the first distraction take me into the next one. I pour the coffee, take a sip and forget to keep picking up the cup until it is finished. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep seeking. If you get distracted turn around and come back. If you get discouraged, look up to the things above, where Christ is. You are no longer bound to the things of this world, you are bound to Him.
                Paul also tells us that we must set our minds on things above. When you set your mind to something you make a determined effort to do it. You strive to accomplish it. A few weeks ago I was determined to ride my bike 20 miles. I set out every day to accomplish it. I didn’t succeed right away. I got to 18 miles one day, and 19 miles the next. But then, it happened. One day I was so determined that nothing was going to stand in my way that I just kept riding. I didn’t focus on the current miles; I just kept peddling and focusing on the path before me. Before I knew it I looked down and I had accomplished 20 miles, in fact I went over 20 miles! To set our minds on things above means that we make a determined effort everyday to follow the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength.
                “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:5-10 ESV
                We will never be able to fully set our minds on those things which are above if we are still holding onto these things below. Our fleshly passions, desires and wants keep our minds focused
here, below. God is calling out to us all today to stop wasting those hot cups of coffee and focus on Him, the cup that is before us. He is calling us to place our minds where His peace and mercy dwells, on those things above.
                “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” Romans 8:6-7 ESV
                Until we fully and completely put to death everything in our lives that distracts us from the One who is above, we will continue to struggle with cold coffee. We will continue to wax cold spiritually, and we will continue to waste the precious gift of Jesus Christ that we have been given. You may be thinking to yourself that as long as you are in this body of flesh there will always be that struggle. You may be thinking that it is all well and good for the person who does not have to work in the world, or who can stay at home and focus on the Lord all the time. But for those of us who have to be in the world the distractions of life are not that easy to put to death.
                “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11) Every single person, no matter their race, their title, their station in life, their career or status in the world has to make the choice to either put to death those things in our lives that pull us away from Him who is above, or choose to continue in them and in the things that are below. We have to make a choice to either go all in for Jesus, or just not go at all. We will never reach our full potential in Christ if we do not let Him renew us in knowledge according to His image. (Colossians 3:10)
                When I am focused on things of this earth, the things that my flesh likes to focus on, my heart is not in submission to God’s law. Everything that goes into our eyes affects our hearts. Everything that we allow into our hearts affects our hearts. What we allow in is what we are submitting to. What we allow into our minds, ears, and eyes is what we are choosing to submit to.
                “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
                Our lives have been hidden in Christ. What we do, say, think, and all that encompass our days has a direct effect on Christ because we are hidden in Him. We are laid up in heaven under the safe keeping of our Father. We are under His protection and His care in Christ. Where is Christ? He is seated at the right hand of God. My life is seated at the right hand of God because my life is hidden away for safe keeping in Jesus Christ my Lord. Everything that takes place in my life here below is also taking place in Christ above.
                What I do, think, feel, see, hear, and taste- all of my life- every aspect of this life below is reflecting in the life of Christ above. What we do matters. What we say, matters. What we allow our eyes to fix upon matters. What we allow our ears to listen to matters. Our lives are reflected in Christ who is seated above. I don’t know about you, but this really makes me want to repent of so much in my life that I allow into my heart. The television shows I watch, some of the music I listen to, some of the posts I read on social media.
                I believe that this is why Paul is urging us to put to death all these things of the earth that are hostile towards God. You are constantly before His throne. There is not a single moment of your life that is not reflected in heaven. In our work, our homes, in the secret corners of our lives where we think no one is watching, God is there, and it is all clearly seen in heaven.

                I have been praying for the Lord to rekindle the fire of my heart for Him again. I have been praying for His passion to ignite my heart for His word again. But I am the one who has set the cup of His Word aside, and let it grow cold. I know there are areas of my life that I need to put to death once and for all. I need to put to death those things that allow my heart to be hostile towards God, such as sexual immorality on television, movies, music, etc. The things of this world will continue to turn our spiritual lives cold if we continue to let them into our lives. If you are feeling cold, distant, discouraged, may I encourage you today to examine those things below that may be taking your heart from the One who is above. Your life is hidden in Christ, it is not your own. Everything and I truly believe God means everything- is clearly seen and open before Him, because we are clearly seen and open before Him.(Hebrews 4:13)  Paul tells us in verse 17 of Colossians 3 that “whatever we do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,” because everything is already done in Him. Amen?