God is love and everything that we experience is designed to show us His love. In the rough patches, we don’t feel that that statement is true because we don’t and never will understand the greatness of His love. God wants us to strive to get to the point that we realize His only motivation is His love for us. He wants us to be like Christ whose only motivation for dying on the cross for our sins was love. Not every lesson we learn will be enjoyable. I am sure that being persecuted, beaten and hung on a cross was not an enjoyable experience for Jesus but it was necessary to show God’s marvelous love for us. Learning to love the “unlovable” and those that mistreat us is a necessary lesson, not only for our completeness but to show others the immeasurable love of God. Jesus showed His love for us by giving His life for all of us while we were still sinners. We must show that same kind of love to those around us each day. As Paul says in the passage above (and I paraphrase) God places the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our roots must grow down into God’s love which will enable us to show that love in every situation.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
As Paul tells us in Romans 12, we should do everything that we can do to live in peace with our fellow man. Add to that, the fact that we should strive to live a Holy life. God tells us to be Holy because He is Holy. Once we are indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, it should be our inclination to follow the example of Jesus in all that we do. That requires us to not only seek peace and holiness, but to teach others so that no one fails to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. To do this, we must avoid gossip and rumor mongering. If we practice those things, we hurt others instead of helping. Do this with humility and love so that no one can blame you. When you are wrongfully blamed, quickly forgive the person. Don’t hold grudges and allow a “root of bitterness” to grow in your heart. This will, first of all, destroy you and then those around you.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” 13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. — Hebrews 8:12, 13 NLT
In yesterday’s passage, we read about erecting landmarks and altars to remind us of the goodness of God. We were reminded of how He provides for us and watches over us so that we might proceed safely on our journey. He has established a new covenant with us beginning with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead of an earthly high priest, Jesus is our high Priest. He has made each us members of the royal priesthood. We can now speak directly to God Himself. He is the complete, final sacrifice so that it is no longer necessary for us to carry out the rituals required in the Old Testament. Along with that new covenant, He has written His laws in our hearts and in our minds. He has chosen to forget our sins against Him The Holy Spirit testifies that this is true. (Hebrews 10:14-18). Just as God forgives and forgets our sins, we are to forgive others. To do that, we are going to have to go back through the memories of our lives and tear down some mental landmarks. All those memories that birng back the times we have felt or actually been mistreated are going to have to be dealt with and released into God’s captivity. As humans, we may not be able to forget entriely, but if we follow the instructions given us in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 to bring every thought captive and teach them to obey Christ, then we will find that it is completely possible to make those bad times in our lives insignificant. If not insignificant, then, at least, no longer worthy of mentioning. Otherwise, they become the roots that produce fruits of bitterness. Give those thoughts to God and allow Him to tear down the landmarks before they become strongholds that keep our relationship with God from growing into maturity.
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.–Col. 2:6-10 (NLT)
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step in our journey to heaven. The next step is to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. This means being obedient to His teachings and following His example. If our roots are to grow down into Him and our foundation is to be built on Him, then we must spend time getting to know Him. As we study and meditate on His Word, our faith will grow stronger each day. This knowledge of the truth of Jesus should cause our hearts to overflow with joy and our lips to sing His praises. We must guard our hearts and our minds. The world is full of people spouting vain philosophies and nonsense. They are possessed, obsessed or influenced by evil spirits. They speak of religion and try to compare it with Christianity, which is a relationship with Jesus. Religions are based on man’s thinking and can change every time the wind blows. Our relationship with Christ is built on the Solid Rock and will withstand every storm and fiery dart that the enemy hurls at us. We are in Christ and He is in us, so we are complete with Christ as our ruler and authority.