Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 9 September 21:
[Note: Here is a link to a video overview of Hebrews: https://youtu.be/1fNWTZZwgbs%5D
Hebrews 1:3 — “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
The Bible says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Likewise, the Bible says, “We shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:49) In fact, we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” However, he also said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) The New Testament explains, “For you are all children of light, children of the day.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5) “You are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8) Our purpose is to radiate Christ, and the closer we are to Him, the more brightly we shine. “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18)
Many ask, “What does God want me to do with my life?” Well, the Bible tells you: Grow into the image of Christ, the radiance (or reflection) of his glory. But imaging Christ is a process of development – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Spirit transforms us, but we must choose to partner with the Spirit, to “live by the Spirit… [and] also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) In describing Jesus’ imprinting of the Father, the first chapter of Hebrews mentions one primary attribute in two parts — “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9)
As we endeavor to grow in the image of Christ, we must both plant seeds of righteousness (Proverbs 11:18) and remove weeds of wickedness – “If you love flowers, you must hate weeds.” It is a two-fold process of growing the good while removing the bad. Many are familiar with Romans 12:2 which says, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” but we forget the whole verse – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The first step is to break from the old ways of thinking, to prepare the ground of our hearts and minds to sow seeds of righteousness. You may have some plowing to do. We cannot partner with both the world and the Spirit. We all must make a conscience choice to both love righteousness and hate wickedness. In this, the Bible gets quite specific:
- Colossians 3:1-17 — If then 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. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 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. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. When we finally get to heaven, May God say to us, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9) “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” (Luke 19:17)
“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness….” (Hebrews 1:9) Jesus loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Do you? Do your thoughts, words, and deeds reflect the glory of Christ to others? As an ambassador for Christ, do you live a life worthy of the calling? (Ephesians 4:1)
- 1 Peter 1:14-19 — As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
- Philippians 3:12-16 — Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) –9 September 21: Endeavor to radiate Jesus to others today.