Live Him

Notes from the pastor

Live Him

Read Colossians 2:6–23, or else none of this will make sense!

In Colossians, Paul argues, “Live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.” Or, to use The Message’s paraphrase, “Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.” Live him. What a brilliant understanding of faith! You have been given life in Christ, set free from the need to please God and constantly grasp for control of your life and your loved ones and your enemies and your life plans. You’ve been set free to live Christ, to be his loving, reaching, Spirit-filled community of grace in the world, and not to be peddlers of a quality religious experience.

In so many words Paul tells us, Give up your “good Christian life” and follow Jesus. Stop trying to live by a checklist of good and bad, or by moral/ethical rules that work for you but not others, or by standing in endless judgment of others by standards we don’t even follow ourselves! “I'm saved; you're not. This is holy; that is not. This is right; that is wrong. I'm good; you're bad.” That kind of dual thinking prevents us from seeing the potential that all people and all things have to radiate the glory of God.  Stop trying to be “good Christians” because there’s no such thing. Christians follow Jesus Christ alone and in that following, we worship him by loving the people for whom he died.

Jesus doesn’t call people to a new religion, but to life, and that’s both the difference maker and the good news. Our job, instead of condemning folks and laying burdens of expectation and rule-following on people, is to actually put ourselves to walking alongside them in all their mess because we love them as Jesus loves them. Where religion seeks “order,” faith seeks only to “love” your neighbor as yourself. “My counsel for you,” Paul encourages us, “is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.” Let bad religion and even your “good Christian life” die so that you may follow Jesus.

- Rev. Patrick Murphy

Last Published: June 8, 2017 9:55 AM
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