A Whole New Reality

Because of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, we have a new identity, a new family, a new purpose, and a new destiny. Material that appears in quotations, unless otherwise noted is from Hidden in Christ, a devotional book on Colossians 3.1-17, authored by James Bryan Smith.

Monday – Colossians 3.1-4. “Notice the language Paul uses: ‘you have been raised with Christ.’ It is a past act with present and continuous consequences. It is a reality, a truth, a completed act. This is who you really are, not because of what you do but because of what God has done. You and I really died with Jesus, and you and I really rose with Jesus and He really lives in us.” We now can live a “with-God” life, because the power of His Spirit is working in us.

Tuesday – Romans 6.1-4. “Death is the great enemy, but it has been defeated. Sin is the great destroyer, but it too has been defeated. Both of these menaces have been defeated by the greatest event the world has ever witnessed: the resurrection of Jesus. Every single issue in life, every problem we face, every hope we have—absolutely everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.” How is the reality of Jesus’ resurrection changing your ‘reality’?

Wednesday – Galatians 2.19-21. “Jesus’ death and resurrection were God’s divine victory over that which plagues us, giving us freedom and hope. But they are even more. Paul writes that the death and resurrection of Jesus are also our death and resurrection.” The old me, the old you have died. Before, we were on our own trying to establish our identity and worth. Now we are in intimate fellowship with the Son of God who has established our worth and our future. Your worth and your future have been established by Jesus who died and was raised to life.

Thursday – Romans 6.5-10. “From the earliest days of the church’s existence, the story of Christ became their story, in the sense that they believed they had died with Jesus; they had suffered with Him, been crucified with Him, been buried with Him. Somehow—and this mystery lies at the very heart of Christian experience—they believed, and knew it to be true because of the utter difference it made to life, that through baptism and faith, they were living in Jesus and He was living in them” (N.T. Wright, Lent for Everyone).

Friday – Romans 6.11-14. Has there been a time where your life was characterized by trying to live the Christian life in your own power, by your own efforts? “Two essential ideas about Christianity are often missed: Christians are indwelt and empowered by Jesus, and we have access to a life with God (the kingdom of God) every moment of our lives.” We cannot make ourselves Christ’s disciples by obeying all the rules. We have a choice between two ways to live: a with-God life or a without-God life, powered by our own efforts. The with-God life provides a strength we do not possess, a power at work within us that changes the way we live.

Saturday – Colossians 1.24-27. “Today, engage in one of the most powerful exercises a Christian can do: practicing the presence of God. It’s not difficult to do, but it is difficult to maintain. Try practicing it for twenty minutes at a time. Simply call to mind that Jesus is with you every moment, in your work, in your planning, in your play, in your relationships. You are not alone. God is with you. Try repeating this short affirmation: ‘God is with me, here, now.’ “