Putting the Toys Away - Purity 800
Purity 800 08/03/2022 Purity 800 Podcast
Today’s photo of a white Horse underneath a blazing sun on a hillside somewhere in Kosovo comes to us from a friend who is currently taking a year to be a part of a traveling Christian mission trip. They shared this pic among many others back on July 7th documenting their groups recent adventure, commenting:
“We Biked Across Kosovo!!! It was an experience for sure, several sore bottoms and close to 100 miles biked! We made it to the Village of Brod, the place God pointed us towards.
During this time I learned so much about the Provision of God. Whenever we wonder if we would have a place to spend the night after all day of biking (pushing our bikes😵💫), we would stop and ask God, and He always had something for us. God showed up over and over again throughout our day in that village.
Sometimes we just need to stop and recognize all the details we missed through the mundaneness of life. He’s in every single moment. Let’s stop for a moment and ponder all of the wonderful things He has gifted us with…”
I couldn’t agree more with my friend and part of our purpose for doing this blog and podcast is to serve as an encouraging word for others to recognize the presence of God in their lives and to seek to know His will for our lives and to follow where He leads us.
Well, It’s Wednesday and I thought my friend’s “Typical horse sighting” served as an adequate visual representation of “hump day” and their words were a good encouragement to lead us through the midpoint of the first work week of August.
I for one am loving the decision I made to make a fresh new start with the eighth month of the year by deciding to focus on my physical and spiritual health by watching what I put in my body in terms of food and what I put in my mind and soul in terms of what I put before my eyes.
Over the last three days, I have remained “on plan” with my food choices and exercise regiment and have avoided seeking entertainment from secular sources and instead have been focusing on preparing for my weekly discipleship’s group presentation tomorrow and viewing only material that would edify my spirit, Christian material that I was interested in but had left unattended as I was under the false impression that I wasn’t “really relaxing” if I was only watching Christian material.
The advice to be careful about what we put before our eyes is a pretty basic tenant of Christian Discipleship but I really think I might be in the midst of a break through here because even though I “knew that” it was better to only view or put my focus upon things that would build me up, particularly Christian material, than it was to watch “junk” from the secular world, I am realizing that “knowledge” was sort of hypothetical. This knowledge “that it was better to watch or focus on Christian material” was a mental construct that didn’t penetrate to my heart but I think that it is now.
I think It's time to get rid of the “shoulds” and just do what is best, for my body, for my mind, and for my soul and for my spirit.
When we come into this Christian walk of faith, there is an encouragement from the world and from ourselves to draw back, to “not be so extreme”, and to go back to the things we have always liked to find comfort, solace, and relaxation.
And believe me, I think for those new in Christ, it is wise to go slow in this walk at first because we need the time to renew our mind by word of God and to let the truth of who we are in Christ to be accepted and applied to our life.
But in truth, here is one of those startling realizations of our faith, we are not who we used to be any more. We are new creations in Christ and as much as we enjoyed certain hobbies and forms of entertainment in the past, they may not be best for us anymore. As we walk out our faith, we are maturing and we may discover that not only are we “growing out” of our former childish ways that we learned from world system, we may discover that they are increasing becoming “alien” to us as we realize the things we are into really have no part in our new life.
Just as a young adult may have some grief over having to leave their toys behind as they are called to grow up and take on new responsibilities but know that their “growing up” is right and to remain in their childish ways would be dysfunctional, Christians may have to mourn the loss of seemingly harmless things that subtly deny or oppose the truth of God’s word, knowing that the Lord has “better things” for us to see and do.
Just like that young adult may go back to their toys only to discover that “the thrill is gone” or don’t find the same enjoyment in them because “they are too old”, the Christian may increasingly discover that the Holy Spirit is making them more sensitive or discerning and the secular things they enjoyed in the past some how no longer seem worth while or may even seem “wrong” in some way.
Who we are is not what we do. Our character defines who we are and it drives what we will do.
For the Christian, we have a new life given to us by God and the Holy Spirit is calling us to increasingly have the character of Christ. So as we walk out our faith, the Christian needn’t fear that they are “losing their identity” when they begin to walk away from the things they always watched or did.
Those shows, programs, or hobbies that we did before coming to Christ did not make us who we are. God made us. And by His grace, He has called us to life everlasting and to be the people we always wanted to be but who never dared to dream we could be.
When we go back to those old childish ways of seeking entertainment, it’s like we are choosing to be children again, and not only that it is a subtle way of turning away from God. In essence, when we turn to the world for our comfort, relaxation, or entertainment it is subtly saying that who we were before coming to Christ was “just fine” and we don’t want to “grow up.”
The same goes for food. I have studied and learned some hard truths about the things I used to eat and have made some considerable progress with my health because I have eliminated certain foods from my diet completely. But Oh there are some foods that I know are not healthy for me and my health goals, that I have gone back to “feel good” and surprise most of those are sweet things I enjoyed as a child.
So instead of doing what I “know” is good, I choose to go back to things from my childhood that seem harmless but that are actually sabotaging my progress and are opposed to my health goals.
Secular entertainment contradicts the word of God and who I want to be in terms of my character. And “junk foods” contradict the order that God created in that if I indulge in junk, my body will suffer.
This might seem radical but all truth is God’s truth. So although there might not be a book on nutrition in the Bible, our scientific studies and observations of God’s created order can reveal to us “God’s truth on nutrition”.
I won’t list anything here but health experts will tell you to avoid certain foods or avoid exceeding certain levels of nutrition. Because these principles are based on observations from God’s created order, when we ignore and violate the principles for proper nutrition, one could say that we are denying “God’s truth on nutrition” and we suffer the negative consequences for our nutritional “sins”.
The breakthrough that I am talking about here is a paradigm shift where we no longer turn a blind eye to how what we are doing opposes the principles of God’s truth and instead align our behaviors to stay within God’s wisdom.
The idea of only doing what is healthy and spiritual edifying is incredibly simple but I think it is something that we find just as easy to dismiss as the world, the flesh, the devil, and our pasts have taught us and actively encourage us to compromise “what its best” for “what we have always known” of for “what we have always done”.
The problem with those last two things is that as Christians, we are no longer the people that we have always been. We are new creations.
So let’s keep walking and talking with God and let’s renew our minds with God’s word but let’s also challenge the things we do and question whether we are living like a child of God, or like the unredeemed children of wrath we once were who simply didn’t know any better, or did but was powerless to change.
As Christians, we don’t so much have to change. We are new creations. We just have to be who we are now. So the next time we feel like doing “what we always have done” decide if that lines up with who you are now in Christ and instead of mentally agreeing that your old ways aren’t the best, know in your heart that they really don’t have a place in your new life. Say goodbye to your childish ways and put the toys away.
Those things belong to some one who is dead and gone, and instead of living like a ghost of your former self who was always depressed, guilty, angry, anxious, or sad, leave those things behind and walk into the new life God has given you.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT2)
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
Today’s verse speaks about the Lord’s provision for the Christian.
As my missionary friend marveled over how the Lord provided for their team in Kosovo, today’s verse reminds us that God will provide but the text indicates that although the Lord may provide for our material needs that real harvest and increase in resources will be in us.
As we walk out our faith, growth happens in our character. When we realize that the Lord will provide for our material needs and we recognize all that He has done for us we become generous.
So show and share the love God in you, by giving what you have received to others.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Clinton E. Arnold’s “Powers of Darkness”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Clinton Arnold’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
Christ Alone Is Sufficient
Paul applied his teaching on the sole supremacy of Christ to their situation. He wanted nothing more than to see them conducting their lives with Christ as the focus. He writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col 2:6–7). Paul assured them that they have all the resources they need in Christ. Just as God bestowed on Christ all his divine fullness, so Christ imparts to believers the enabling power, love and divine grace for resisting the influence of evil and living according to God’s desires. Paul plainly says, “and you have been given fullness in Christ” (Col 2:10). It is no mistake that the very next statement that Paul makes is the description of Christ as the one “who is the head over every power and authority” (Col 2:10). The clear implication of this passage is that part of the divine resources that Christ bestows on believers is his authority over the evil powers.
Christ can impart his fullness to them because of their unique relationship to him, symbolized in the rite of baptism. They have been made alive with Christ by being identified with him in his death and resurrection (Col 2:12–13). Their death with Christ has effectively rendered them dead to the powerful influence of the elemental spirits (Col 2:20). He alone is sufficient to protect them from evil spirits. No phylacteries, amulets or talismans are necessary. Neither is mystery initiation essential for additional spiritual enlightenment since Christ is “the mystery of God” and in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (gnōsis)” (Col 2:2–3).
The hope and strength of these believers is wrapped up in the fact that Christ actually indwells their lives (Col 1:27). This fact is not to be understood in the sense of a mystical absorption into deity. Christ personally indwells their lives and infuses them with his power, filling them with his love and giving them a blessed hope for the future. This is the essence of the Christian “mystery.”
The epitomizing trait of Christianity is relationship with Christ. Given his all-encompassing lordship and his all-sufficiency, the Colossians are left with no legitimate reason to syncretize their faith. Christ is all they need!
Appropriating the Resources in Christ
Having the right concept of Christ is not enough. Giving assent to a creed or a statement of faith does not guarantee victorious living. In practice, theology can easily become severed from ethics, and what one believes about Christ may not necessarily affect the way a person lives. Christology has life-changing implications. It demands a total response and commitment.
The Colossians needed to have their concept of Christ purified, and they needed to be admonished to draw on the resources he provides for day-to-day life. Paul chided them for “not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with the growth which is from God” (Col 2:19 NASB). It is the “head” of the body that provides what they need, but they have to seek and be willing to receive the nourishment he offers. They also need to endeavor earnestly to live in a way that is consonant with the character of their new heavenly life. They are citizens of two kingdoms. The temptation will be for them to fix their attention on the limitations and problems of life in the present evil age. Paul contended strongly that their focus of attention must be placed on the character of their new life and all the spiritual blessings, security and divine endowments that it brings. For Paul this focus is the secret for overcoming life’s obstacles in the here and now; it is the basis for Christian ethics. New Testament scholars refer to it as Paul’s “eschatological tension” between the “already” and the “not-yet,” which is at the heart of his theology.
Appropriating the benefits of this new life requires that the Colossians set their hearts and minds “on things above” (Col 3:1–2). “Above” is where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. It is also where the lives of the Colossians are “now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3) because of their identification with Christ’s death. Part of seeking the heavenly life is through deeply immersing themselves in Christ’s teachings. Paul encouraged them to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16). It also involves prayer, an expression of faith in God but also the channel to communicate with God and convey one’s needs to him. Paul therefore enjoined them to “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Col 4:2). Aware of his own need for divine strength and enablement, Paul requested prayer for himself (Col 4:3–4).
At Colossae the syncretistic impulse facing Christians was strong, especially since a lifetime pattern of worshiping many gods had reinforced it. The pressure from outside the church must have been equally intense. People in Colossian society would not have understood Christ’s exclusivistic claims. The false teaching at Colossae was undoubtedly packaged and presented in an alluring way. But for the apostle Paul it was wrong. It was wrong because evil spirits inspired it, and because it detracted from the supreme and sufficient lordship of Jesus Christ.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts
(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com.
These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxjSNstREpuGWuL0bF3U7w/featured
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 1992), 145–147.