Romans 8:28 ESV
Colossians 3:2 ESV
From the Jar
From time to time we all face uncertainty and hard times.
I’d say that while I’ve had my share of difficult times, I’ve also been blessed by God.
I’ve found that the Apostle Paul was ever so correct when he wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God in all His wisdom somehow works all things for our good. Every time.
It’s been my experience that when things have looked really impossibly bad in my life, when I wait and watch I can clearly see God bring great good out of the bad.
Even going back to 1987 when I was 34 years old. My dad had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was 60 years old.
I relied on my dad for all things spiritual and I also relied on him as my compass. He didn’t always give me all the answers I wanted, but he helped me to find the way to an answer.
I wasn’t sure how I would find my way without him.
My dad knew I would find my way. I think he knew because he prayed that God would show me.
God did show me.
I did grow up.
While I grieved and I missed my dad terribly I was glad He was with God. I knew my dad sat at the feet of Jesus.
I knew I would see him again.
Great good came out of great sorrow.
The Apostle Paul also wrote the letter to the church in Colossae, and it is believed that Timothy was mentioned because he was his scribe. Timothy learned from Paul and Timothy helped Paul as he wrote to the churches throughout the region.
Being imprisoned would not have been the life Paul chose, but the good news that came from Paul being in prison is that he wrote many letters to churches who were struggling to get a good start. The churches needed Paul’s wisdom and guidance.
Because Paul wrote many letters to the early churches, we have those letters as part of the canon of the New Testament.
Paul always pointed his readers to seek God and look to Jesus in all things.
In Colossians 3:2 Paul wrote, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Paul knew the early church would face many trials. Many different people groups in various cities had to overcome their differences as they learned to worship together. Paul knew it wouldn’t be easy for Jews and Greeks. There were Gentiles who came to worship Jesus. There is evidence there were people from Africa, Syria, and Palestine.
There were many people from diverse ethnic and social classes who came together to worship.
In the Gospels we read of people who came from different regions but for the most part most were Jews. All of the disciples were Jewish and they even struggled interact with others who came (like the woman at the well in John 4).
But once the message of the Gospel spread to other parts of the region, understanding and giving value to their differences was very difficult.
One area of focus for Paul was to help the early church love one another and value their differences.
In Colossians 3:2 he was telling them to look to God.
Do not focus on earthly things.
Don’t look at your differences.
Look to God so He can show you how love, His love that He gives us for one another can transcend our differences.
Today, even today that same message is important to the church. We are different. We are diverse. But we worship the same God. We look to Jesus to help us overcome our differences.
Set your eyes on things above and do not focus on earthly standards.
Look to God and God will show you how to love all people.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Look to God
If there are people in your life, people you work with, people in your neighborhood who are different, look to God and ask God to show you how to love them. God can bring great good from even the most difficult situations (Romans 8:28).
In God, Deborah