The congregation for whom I preach, Alameda Church of Christ, is going through a season of transition within our leadership team. These transitions are not the result of anything bad happening; rather, they simply represent the natural life cycle of any organization. Therefore, our leaders are intently looking for the opportunities within this challenge, and we are excited about the ways God will use these changes to strengthen our church family so that we can continue to be used by Him to make Jesus known in our community.
But this “season of transition” has me thinking: Is there a transition in my life that I need to make in order to be more Christ-centered and Christ-focused?
After all, that’s what should be happening in the life of every Christ-follower.
Look at what the apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-17 (NLT)…
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[c] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[d] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Here, Paul claims that upon making the decision to follow Jesus, a transition from our old way of living to a new way of living takes place. By ordering our lives around Jesus’ reign, we transition away from the worldly pursuits and philosophies that used to guide us and we embrace and practice Jesus’ Kingdom values.
In the above passage, Paul lists several transitions that exemplify the new life we have with Christ. This list has the effect of challenging us to examine our own lives to see if we’ve truly transitioned away from our old life before Christ. So…