I have had limited success in growing plants. I can keep our lawn green as long as the automatic sprinklers come on, but after that, it gets sketchy. For things to grow, you need fertile soil, good water, and sun. The same goes for Christians. We need to have fertile soil in our hearts, the water of the word of God, and Jesus at the center of our life. If these three are present, you will flourish.
“Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
Paul wanted the church in Colossae to thrive. His whole book to them is full of advice on how to have a thriving walk with Jesus. In this passage, he is telling them to make sure their hearts are a place where the Word of God can grow. If the soil of our heart is shallow or full of weeds, nothing of value will grow because there are too many things choking it out. Add to that the accountability of singing songs that worship God, and you will have a continual source of good spiritual food.
Most churches are made up of Biblical teaching and singing of spiritual songs. It has been that way sing the early church and continues through today. When you have a pastor that rightly divides the Word of God, you will be on a healthy spiritual diet. Add to that the singing of worship songs and you have positioned yourself in a good place. If you are consistent in your church attendance of your pastor isn’t teaching the Bible, then you are striving yourself and setting yourself up for failure.
Fertile Soil in Our Hearts
Is there gratitude in your heart? If not, it could be from a lack of praising God. Happiness that comes from possessions is temporary because we always want the next thing. When we lift our voices in worship to the mighty God, our hearts are filled with gratitude. It is then easier to return the gratitude to Jesus. Work on your worship and watch as there is a powerful change in your heart.
The job of the prophet in the Old Testament was a thankless job. Most of the people in Israel dreaded or downright feared every time one of them spoke. The people knew God spoke through them, and most of the messages were ones of warning or judgment. The people who struggled the most with the prophets were the kings. To them, the prophets were always bringing bad news. They weren’t afraid to rock the boat.
“But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will say whatever the Lord says to me.”
Thorn in the Side
Micaiah was a prophet who was a thorn in Ahab’s side. Ahab was a wicked king, and Micaiah was the only prophet that had the courage to tell him the truth. All the other prophets told Ahab what he wanted to hear. When Ahab was inquiring whether he should go to war, Micaiah said to him that he would die and the army of Israel would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd. It ended up coming true. Ahab was struck by a random arrow that pierced his armor, and he bled out in his chariot.
It takes courage to stand for the truth of God’s word. We have been taught our whole life if we didn’t have anything nice to say not to say anything at all. But what do we do when we have to speak truthfully to someone? We take a cue from Micaiah. He was the only one who was willing to say what the Lord told him. Many of our friends and family need some tough love. They may not like it, but they need someone to tell them the truth. If you don’t want to hurt their feelings, or we want to avoid confrontation, we could be doing that person more harm than good.
Rock the Boat
Faithful are the wounds of a friend. (Prov 27:6) Your friend may not appreciate what you are telling them right now, but they will later on. You may make them stop and think about their decisions. Love someone enough to tell them the truth. Be more concerned with righteousness than with acceptance. Speak it to them in love and tenderness but don’t water it down. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat.
Did you know that your mind can handle someone talking four times faster than they usually do? We can listen and comprehend what they are saying. The reason we don’t hear what someone is saying to us is that we have allowed our minds to wander onto something else. You can train your brain to focus on what is essential. This is especially important when it comes to the things of God and the Bible.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Focus on Things Above
Some people say you can be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good and that would seem like wisdom, but it isn’t. Sure, people can be “out there” when you talk to them, but those who are genuinely heaven minded have their thoughts trained on the Word of God and what God has called them to do. Paul is encouraging the Colossians to focus on the things above so that we won’t be tripped up by the things of earth.
What do you focus most of your thoughts on? Is it worry? Is it tasks that need to be done. Martha was consumed with these, and that is why she got upset when her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Mary was the one that Jesus commended. When we train our minds on the things above, it’s amazing how everything else falls into place. As we work on our obedience and worship God takes care of the rest of the details. Too many useless thoughts compete for our attention, and that is why we need to train ourselves.
Train Your Brain
Start your day in God’s Word. Allow the Scriptures to wash the images from yesterday away. Spend some time journaling and meditating on what you just read. Ask God to reveal its meaning and how you can apply it to your life. You will realize that when you make a habit of this, you will see the cares of the rest of the day melt away.
Nothing worth having in life comes easy. This is something we tell our children all the time. You practice your piano because you can then use that talent to lead others in worship. You study to get good grades so that God can use that knowledge to spread His Gospel. If we settle for good enough, we will live a life of falling short, which will, in turn, make us miserable. It takes belief.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Power Over Death
Jesus said these words to Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus. He had told her that her brother would rise again, and she agreed that he would on the day of resurrection. Jesus then tells her that He has the power over life and death, and resurrection comes through Him. Everyone who believes in Jesus will never die. Jesus was showing everyone that He had power over death. He can bring us back from the dead but more importantly give us life after death. After this, he called Lazarus forth from the grave, and he walked out!
Do you believe that Jesus has power over death? I would bet that most of us are like Martha. We are busy serving the Lord and doing everything we can for Him, but we never expect Jesus to do anything miraculous. Our eyes are set on the day we will be with Him in heaven. We are not wrong to think that, but we sell Him short if we don’t expect Him to do something miraculous on earth. If he has power over life and death, then He is capable of anything at any time.
It Takes Belief
We need to ask God to increase our faith. It was by faith that Moses crossed the Red Sea, it was by faith the walls of Jericho fell, and it was by faith Abraham uprooted his life and moved to the Promised Land. God wants to do incredible things through our life, but if we have a Martha perspective, we limit we won’t ever see it.
Nothing is more stressful than to have a stack of bills and not enough money to pay them. The collection agencies start to call, and pretty soon, our credit is affected for future purchases. It is normal to lay awake at night wondering where the money is going to come from to pay everything off. You can look at our sin in the same way. The more we sin, the more the debt from it piles up. The only way to have the debt canceled is to the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
“He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.”
Erase the Debt
When Jesus died on the cross, He erases the debt that came with our sin. The word “redeemed” in the Greek means to pay in full. Jesus has taken it away, and he did that by nailing it to the cross. Think about that for just a second. All the sin we have ever committed is erased, and His righteousness replaces it. Our account, which was bankrupt because of our sin had his righteousness deposited into it free of charge. There are no more obligations for our debt, and all charges have been removed. That is something to rejoice over.
What’s even better is that as we continue to sin that debt is removed as well. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to remove it. That’s important because sin separates us from the presence of God. God is a holy God and cannot be in the presence of sin and unrighteousness. The more we sin, the farther we get. To reverse that we need to confess our sin and get right with Him. Many Christians are living outside of the presence of God because of unreported sin in their lives.
Recieve the Gift
Jeremiah tells us that God’s mercy is new every morning. That means we can go to Him and ask for forgiveness each and every time we sin. We may not feel like we are worthy, and that’s precisely how we should feel. Forgiveness, grace, and mercy are gifts that God gives to us so that we can get right. God desires us in His presence more than anywhere else. Take that step right now and ask God to forgive you of your sins and make your heart right with Him.
I am a person who waits until the last moment to fill my gas tank. The warning light goes on, and I know I can get another 40 miles out of my tank. I have never run out of gas, but I’ve sure pushed the limits. Sadly, many Christians spiritual tanks are always empty too. That’s not the way it’s intended to be. We are designed to live our life full of Jesus. How full is your tank?
“For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”
Fullness of God
All of us go through times where we feel spiritually empty. David likened it to a deer panting after water (Psalm 42:1). With Christ, we are to be filled with the fullness of God. That is given to us when we decide to follow Jesus. Everything we need to live a life of faith is given to us at the beginning. If our tank is running on empty, that means that we have neglected our time with the Lord, and we need to reconnect to the source of living water.
There is a danger of continually running on fumes. In a car, there is junk in the gas that settles at the bottom of the tank. If you let the level sink to the bottom soon, you are sucking in all the junk to your engine which causes milage to go down and performance to increase. When we let our spiritual tank run low, our energy and inspiration disappear. Our desire to live for Christ decreases, and soon, we are just getting by. Jesus wants more for us than just getting by.
How Full is Your Tank?
Fill your tank today. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing. Fill yourself with the Word of God and the fellowship of the Saints. When you do these three things, you will notice your spiritual fervor increases as well. Your mind turns to the things of God and away from those thoughts which take us down the wrong path. Make an effort to fill your tank today.