The scripture passages for these final two days discuss our response to the reality that God is enough. If God’s presence, care, generosity, and life-giving Spirit are enough to sustain our lives, how do we respond to these amazing gifts? This passage answers that question by calling us to “put on the new nature” that recovers the image of God in which we were originally formed.
At its heart, the Christian spiritual life is the process of allowing this image of God to emerge from our selves. Sanctification, the theological term that describes the action of the Spirit on our being, is about everyone who is “in Christ” becoming Christlike.
Rather than seeing this sanctifying action of the Spirit as an impossible dream, Christians are asked to see it as the ordinary activity of our life of faith. Yet the world we inhabit is full of people who claim to be Christian but engage in all of the behaviors that this passage says we are to lay aside. We can see how the world co-opts our faith.
Becoming Christlike requires practice. Members of Christian spiritual communities pray together five to seven times a day, not because they think they are holy but rather because they know how much practice and help they need! God and the world groan for a time in human history when a significant proportion of humanity takes the process of sanctification seriously. When we do, the world that we all desire to see might emerge right before our eyes.
God, in your great generosity you have given us everything we need. Help us respond to your gifts through a wholehearted engagement of the life you want us to live. Amen.
Hosea relates a further message from God. Israel has repeatedly ignored God’s teachings, even though God continues to reach out with love and kindness. A just response would be wrath, but God will respond with mercy to restore the people. The psalmist echoes this teaching about God’s enduring love. Although some have gone through periods of distress, when they call out to God, the Lord responds with steadfast love. We then explore guidance for the life of a Christian. In Colossians we read that we should focus on heavenly realities, not the physical world. Rather than pursuing our own pleasure, we should put on a new self and behave more like God desires. The parable that Jesus tells reinforces this point. We should focus on storing up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones.
Read Hosea 11:1-11. How have you suffered the consequences of turning away from God? How has God welcomed you back?
Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. What stories of God’s goodness does your family tell to the next generations?
Read Colossians 3:1-11. How has Christ renewed you? How do you see Christ in others?
Read Luke 12:13-21. How has greed shown up in your life? How do you combat greed in all its forms to live out of a mentality of abundance?
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