Reality in Christ - Judged Based on a Real Relationship - Colossians 2:17; 3:1-4.
July 1, 2022, 11:00 AM

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

It was in the real, living relationship with Jesus, not with religion, that Paul found freedom from guilt, joy, and life more abundant. He no longer had to worry about how many steps he walked on. That was no longer important. He didn't worry about if hair covered his ears, or how many inches from the knee the women’s dresses were. He didn't have to concern himself about eating a pork chop in Colossae, or if he would eat with a Gentile, for Paul was free in his love relationship enjoying the personal presence of Jesus Christ. His actions came from a heart of love not from a fear of doing something wrong.

This caused him to reject those rules, regulations, revelations and restrictions. He didn't worry about what others said he needed to do to be acceptable before God once he knew Jesus Christ. True religion begins with a personal relationship. He found he didn't need to add more rules to his life, he needed a heart change and nothing he could do could accomplish that. When he let Jesus in to take over his life, Christ did the rest making him free from the consequences of all sin. Christ can do that for you today.

For you see when we are in a loving relationship with Jesus we want to obey, not perform. Performance is for ourselves and for others, Obedience is for God. One is based on relationship the other on religion. How can you know the difference?

Susan Maycinik gives some ideas:

Obedience is seeking God with your whole heart. Performance is having devotions because you'll feel guilty if you don't.

Obedience is finding ways to let the Word of God dwell in your richly. Performance is quickly scanning a passage for you can check it off your Daily Bible reading plan.

Obedience is inviting guests to your home for dinner. Performance is feeling anxious about if every detail of the meal will be perfect.

Obedience is doing your best. Performance wants to be the best.

Obedience is saying yes to whatever God asks of you. Performance is saying yes to whatever other people ask of you.

Living in religion is performance. It will wear you down until you want to quit. Living in a relationship is rewarding and enriching. It will spur you on to love God more and others. He alone knows your heart. Focus on the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit will help you grow in love and less in performance.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and each day set your heart and mind on things above.

Lord, let all I do today and everyday be pleasing in your sight. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love for I put my trust in You.

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