This week seven people were killed due to violent outbreaks of this tension. These were not merely cops, black people, or white people, but people made in the image of God. It breaks God’s heart that His image bearers kill one another over their differences. We as people of God need to rise above the issues at this level and be the people of God, part of something bigger.
In the book of Genesis, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery because of their jealousy and annoyance with him. After many trials, years later Joseph is elevated to a high post in the Egyptian government. When his family experiences the hardship of famine, they find themselves under the authority of their brother Joseph, whom they have badly mistreated and who now holds their lives in his hands.
But fortunately for them, Joseph has a godly view of his life’s experiences. He says to them in Genesis 50:19-20:
“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
As the people of God, we need to see a bigger picture. He wants His church to be a light on a hill and the salt of the earth.
Our country is in mourning today because of racial tension and this week shows us the many ways in which our country has changed. But God would say enough is enough! He still calls us to rise up, love as He loves, and demonstrate His forgiveness. As the people of God, we need to see a bigger picture. He wants His church to be a light on a hill and the salt of the earth.
This goes far beyond anything that political correctness can create. The devil wants to dumb us all down and ask us to choose sides, but God calls us to His side. We are not to fight the battles of our day naturally (where everyone loses), but on a spiritual level.
In the time when Paul wrote Colossians, there was rampant false teaching going on. People were worshiping angels, fearing powers of evil, and de-emphasizing the importance of Christ. In response to this, Paul sets forth the pre-eminence of Christ in the first two chapters of his letter to Colossians. He wants the church to understand that Jesus is above all principalities and powers as the full expression of the image of God. In the last two chapters of the letter follow with instructions for the life of the believer in light of this information.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
1. You were made to act like God.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
We are made to be different from one another, reflecting many different aspects of our Father in heaven (so don’t say you don’t see color!) We are each made in the image of God, so God says enough is enough; stop acting like a slave to the natural world and begin acting like a supernatural child of God.
2. Take yourself off the throne.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:12-13
Everyone has cultural values and uniqueness. That is all interesting and marvelous - but to God, we are just His children. Culture is fine, but worship God, honor God, take pride in God, and put Him first rather than placing yourself above others.
Every group you can think of in today’s world has their issues and causes and unfairness exists all over the world, in the government, and in our legal system. But God is asking us today to make Him our issue and put Him on the throne.
Pastor Miles likened this concept to love in a marriage. A home may have rules to keep order, and the rules can be helpful and even necessary, but a wife cannot put rules into place to keep her husband loving her, serving her, and being faithful to her. These are issues of the heart, and God has dominion over these.
3. Honor the image of God in someone that does not look like you.
The old is gone, and the new is come. We cannot rely on the world to display the glory of God. The world is not going to do that and it’s not supposed to do that. No government can put a law in place to display the glory of God; it is supposed to flow through us and be lived out in our lives as God’s people.
In light of this, Pastor Miles issued a challenge for the church this week:
Find someone who doesn’t look like you and tell him/her, “God loves you and your life matters to Him.”
People suffer all sorts of hurts from racial differences and many of these can turn into bitterness over years of holding on to them, but today’s challenge is to give room for the Spirit of God to move and change hearts. The devil wants us to pick sides and go to our corners to fight, but our challenge is to choose God’s side, walk with Jesus, and deal with things as they come.
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