Saturday, May 2, 2015


Pastor Ed's devotional today was so good, I decided to share it here.

More Like Him
Colossians 3:13-14

New American Standard Version
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Pastor's Paraphrase
         When circumstances arise that could cause you to harbor resentment toward a fellow believer, you must now be willing to release that to the Lord and no longer hold it against them. You must be forgiving all the while remembering the ultimate forgiveness that you have been freely given through Christ. Remembering your own forgiveness will enable you to forgive others. The spiritual virtue that is to become like a "spiritual overcoat", to cover and compliment all the others, is love.  Love will tie them all together in complete harmony.

 "How does this help me become more like Him?"
         Jesus said some amazing things during His earthly ministry.  He performed life-changing miracles by speaking words of healing.  He imparted eternally profound truths in times of teaching the crowds and in private times with the disciples.  But nothing our Lord said was quite as astonishing to me as what He said to His Father about those who crucified Him as He hung there bleeding and suffering.  Surely no one expected Him to say, "Father, forgive these people, because they don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34 NLT).  How could He fail to harbor resentment against those who perpetrated the brutality against Him while He still was in the midst of His torturous sacrifice for our sins?  Only divine love could enable such an expression of forgiveness and redemption.
         To remember these words of our Lord should make us all the more thankful for His love for us in our sin but we must also apply it to our daily lives if we are serious about being more like Him.  To live like Jesus means that we surrender any perceived right to hold a grudge against anyone who we believe has wronged us.  We cannot delude ourselves into thinking we are living in Christ's love while at the same time we are holding bitterness or unforgiveness against someone who, at least in our mind, has wronged us at some time in the past.  To think of ourselves as Christlike believers while harboring unforgiveness in our hearts is spiritual self-delusion.
         Too often we confuse forgiveness with a feeling.  While certainly there is an emotional dimension of forgiveness, it is primarily an act of the will.  In other words, to forgive someone who has wronged you does not mean that you instantaneously feel toward them exactly as you did before the offense.  Nor does it mean that you can all at once put complete trust in them again if they, in fact, betrayed your trust as a part of the offense.  Trust must be earned but forgiveness is a grace gift to be given. 
         Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice.  It means that you surrender to your Lord any intention of retaliating against them, even if it would be in the most subtle of ways such as avoiding them, not speaking to them, or simply being "cool" toward them.  To forgive them means that you treat them with sincere kindness and grace whether you feel they deserve it or not and you release any consequences you think they should suffer for their offense to the only One who has the right to judge.  Though they may never be your best or most trusted friend at any point in the future, you have relinquished any right to determine what they deserve.  You have given that up to the Lord who alone has that right.  You have forgiven them.
         Not only will you find a new freedom in your own spirit and in your relationship with the Lord, you will in yet another way begin to live more like Him.  To live with such a spirit of love and forgiveness is not common, typical, or perhaps even humanly possible.  Yet, it is still another evidence of Who lives inside of us and to Whose image we are being conformed.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, if we do not live demonstrating the love of Christ in our lives, all the other religious stuff is just a bunch of noise.

"How should I pray for Him to change my life?"
Ask the Lord to show you if there is someone that you have not forgiven.  Determine to treat that person with kindness and grace as God's Spirit gives you the power.  Dwell today on the forgiveness that Christ offered to those who nailed Him to the cross and to you.  Remember that you can forgive others because Christ has forgiven you. 

Pastor Ed Seay
First Baptist Church

We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

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