What does a “normal” Christian look like? Paul warns the Colossians that some people will condemn them. He warns that some will even try to “disqualify” their faith.
Those same warnings hold for us today. Never before has our world been so divided. Never before has the need for Christ’s love been more apparent. Never before have so many tried to confuse and distort the truth of Christ!
Recently I asked my small group, “What does a ‘normal’ Christian look like, sound like, act like?” One dear saint in the group meekly responded, “About like everybody else!” Despite her intended sarcasm, I think she is on to something.
Jesus does not seek to lord himself over those who follow him. He seeks to be part of the community around him, to be a little yeast in the dough. Jesus challenges us to live to higher standards but to be humble, to be last, to be least. We will have trouble being a disciple if we choose authority over humility. We will have trouble being incorporated into our communities if we choose arrogance over understanding.
Paul warns us that as we become part of the community around us, as we serve, as we are transformed by Christ, there will be those who don’t want us to be “normal.” They will want us to all look alike, think alike, act alike, and be in lock step with their understanding of normal. That’s uniformity, and Jesus came to offer us freedom from that!
Thankfully, Jesus calls us individually, by name, in the uniqueness of who we are. Working together, we form a beautiful patchwork of “normal” Christians. Fearfully and wonderfully made, we are Christ’s workmanship.
God, forgive me when I want everything to be easy and want everyone to conform to my idea of normal. Help me to live humbly and to embrace the uniqueness that each person brings into this wonderful community of believers in Christ. Amen.
Hosea can be a difficult book. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.
Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life? in your relationships with family and friends? in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How has your community restored you as you seek to be like Christ?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.
Respond by posting a prayer.