When I Cease To Be

 

“From now onwards, never let anyone else decide what you should eat or drink, or whether you are to observe annual festivals, New Moons or sabbaths.  These were only pale reflections of what was coming: the reality is Christ.  Do not be taken in by people who like groveling to angels and worshipping them; people like that are always going on about some vision they have had, inflating themselves to a false importance with their worldly outlook.  A man of this sort is not united to the head, and it is the head that adds strength and holds the whole body together, with all its joints and sinews–and this is the only way in which you can reach is full growth in God.

If you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you still let rules dictate to you, as though were still living in this world?  It is forbidden to pick up this, it is forbidden to taste that, it is forbidden to touch something else; all these prohibitions are only concerned with things that perish by their very use–an example of human doctrines and regulations!  It may be argued that true wisdom is to be found in these, with their self-imposed devotions, their self-abasement, and their severe treatment of the body; but once the flesh starts to protest, they are no use at all.

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.  Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.  But when Christ is revealed–and He is your life–you too will be revealed in all your glory with Him.

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; all this is the sort of behavior that makes God angry.  And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing, but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language, and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies.  

You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self and you have put on a new self, which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its Creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man.  There is only Christ: He is everything and He is IN everything.” (Colossians 2:16-23 & 3:1-11)


There is an old hymn called “Just As I Am” that we used to sing when I was a child.  That old hymn always brought tears to my eyes because of the anointing on it.  Even today, whenever I sing it or listen to it, my eyes well with tears.  Just the thought of Jesus accepting me just as I am is humbling because I know how evil I used to be.  But I’m different now and this passage of scripture shows us HOW we can cease to be and become one in Him.  Let’s break it down.

  1. “From now onwards, never let anyone else decide what you should eat or drink, or whether you are to observe annual festivals, New Moons or sabbaths.  These were only pale reflections of what was coming: the reality is Christ.  — There are only two laws in the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached: You shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your strength, heart, soul and might and the second one is to LOVE your fellow-man like you do yourself.  (i.e. the golden rule).  Jesus said it: when you obey these two laws you have obeyed ALL the Law.  This means that you do not have to put yourself under man-made regulations of don’t do this or don’t eat that.  Jesus fulfilled ALL the Law of Moses so we can be free IN Him!  These decisions must be between you and God.
  2. Do not be taken in by people who like groveling to angels and worshipping them; people like that are always going on about some vision they have had, inflating themselves to a false importance with their worldly outlook.  A man of this sort is not united to the head, and it is the head that adds strength and holds the whole body together, with all its joints and sinews–and this is the only way in which you can reach is full growth in God. — People can get side-tracked from the intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, by looking for signs and wonders instead of focusing on HIM.  Yes, signs and wonders follow believers but they are NOT to be pursued or focused on primarily.  And too much focus on angels isn’t healthy either.  These things will cause deception to come because you can become disconnected from the Head of the Body who is Jesus Christ.  The ONLY way to spiritual maturity is to be attached to Jesus.  Remember: He is the Vine and we are the branches.  We can do NOTHING without being connected to Him.
  3.  Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.  Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God.  But when Christ is revealed–and He is your life–you too will be revealed in all your glory with Him. — When we received Jesus Christ into our heart through faith, we DIED to this world system.  Satan is the god of this world system.  We have immigrated to the Kingdom of God where Jesus is the Head of it all.  This immigration brought us to true life with Him.  Because we are now citizens of the Kingdom of God, our focus and our thoughts and ways should be for the things that are in heaven, where Jesus is.  How can we do that if we are still here on earth?  We do this by putting God first.  For example, when I wake up, before I put my feet on the floor, I thank God for another day.  I give Him the day and ask what He wants to do today.  Then throughout the day I talk to Him about whatever is going on.  I include in Him my everyday decisions.  This way of life empowers me to overcome whatever life throws at me.
  4. That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; all this is the sort of behavior that makes God angry.  And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing, but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language, and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies. –Part of putting God first and dying to the world is turning away from our old ways.  People tend to be selective in what they believe about God’s Word.  They want the blessings but not the responsibilities.  That is where the “greasy grace” doctrine came from.  Grace empowers us to CHANGE into Christ’s image.  It was never meant to be a license to continue to act the same way we always have.  If we don’t truly die to these things, we are outside the Kingdom of God and subject to Satan’s attacks.  Jesus rules His Kingdom with a rod of iron.  You obey His commandments or you are outside the Kingdom blessings.  Period.
  5. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self and you have put on a new self, which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its Creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man.  There is only Christ: He is everything and He is IN everything.” — In order to make progress in the Kingdom of God, we MUST strip off our old “earth suit” and put on our new “God suit.”  We are to be renewed in the image of our Creator.  This new image doesn’t see race or skin color or culture.  There is only Christ.  He is the common denominator of the Kingdom.  The old man must be put to death and we must leave our old life behind and walk with Jesus in the Kingdom.

The ultimate goal of every believer should be to become hidden with Christ in God.  This is the perfect unity that Jesus prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane so long ago.  Check it out:

  “I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in Me.  May they all be ONE.  Father, may they be ONE in US, as You are in Me and I am in You, so that the world may believe it was You who sent Me.  I have given them the glory You gave to Me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE.  With Me in them and You in Me, may they be so completely ONE that the world will realize that it was You who sent Me and that I have loved them as much as You loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)

It is the ONENESS, the unity with Jesus Christ that brings us into complete unity with our Father.  This unity is what was lost in the Garden of Eden when Adam chose his own way rather than God’s way.  Jesus got it back.  What an opportunity!

When we apply these things to our lives and begin to hide ourselves in Jesus Christ, He is faithful to completely transform our lives into something incredibly beautiful.  Life becomes an adventure instead of a dreadful existence. Hope springs up everywhere.  Purpose, real purpose becomes a reality.  Every human being has a deep-seated need to do something with purpose.  God gives us that in His Kingdom–when we cease to be…

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

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