Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dumping the Bucket

Last week, I blogged about Chad’s sermon on that little word “with.” That was a message that I will never forget!! Chad’s next sermon was just as powerful when he elaborated further on the “with” concept.

In Colossians 3:5-11, the Bible talks about no longer walking in our old sinful ways and habits (sexual immorality, lust, idolatry, anger, malice, bad language, lying, etc.). Once you’re in Christ, you’re new. Chad said, “You’re new. BE new!” and “Get busy being new!”

Chad said that he sometimes has a hard time understanding those deep concepts. So, God shows him how to “get it” in amazing ways. His latest illustration took the shape of an old house he was renovating. He said he was tearing apart the old stuff around a window when God told him “This is you.” Chad saw how all the old wood and plaster that was being torn off, and all the work that they were doing to conform the house to the brilliant blueprint designs intended for the structure, was just how God viewed him. God tears out all the old junk in order to change our “house” into what He has always had planned. His “blueprints” for us are bigger and better than anything we could imagine!! God is the grand architect! He wants to transform our “old house” into the beautiful one He already has planned and designed!

Of course, in order to be the “house” that we were designed to be, it’s going to take some work!! God has to clear out the old to make way for the new - just as Chad showed to us. Chad showed us a bucket full of old wood and plaster and how they were throwing away all that old stuff. Though, he says that sometimes, we end up taking that bucket and bringing it back into the house. So often, we get “emptied out” only to end up bringing the junk back in!! The old needs to be dead; and not dug up and revived. What’s buried at the foot of the cross needs to stay buried. We need not remain bonded to all our junk!!

Chad says that he knows at which times he starts to pick up and dump the bucket. In a humble moment of humanity and vulnerability, he described his own weakness of being tempted and drawn back to his “bucket.” He says that during the times it’s not his turn to prepare a sermon and preach, he’s has more trouble staying in the Word and being self-disciplined. When he was talking to one of his friends, who is also a pastor, he told him two simple words that just cut him to the core: “Get pure.” He told Chad that when he found himself slipping away, he needs to focus on getting pure - concentrating on Jesus and cleaning house again! It also reminds me of a phrase that someone told my husband recently: “Practice the presence of God.”

Chad said that for him, most of his problems start in his thoughts. He said it’s the most free place we have. We could be a million miles away and no one would even know it. That’s why we need to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2) and think on good things (Philippians 4:8). We need to be wary of the “streets” we walk down so that we don’t start to turn that corner into temptation (Proverbs 7:8). We need to “practice the presence of God” by practicing good behaviors - like those listed in Colossians 3:12-14 (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love). Be filled with the fruit of the Spirit and not the things of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-23).

We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) and we need to continue working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) and living up to what we already have in Christ (Philippians 3:16). In all things, giving praise and thanks to Jesus; having His grace and peace nestled in our hearts (Colossians 3:15-17).

May the grace and peace of God be with you as you walk in the presence of God!!

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