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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Wednesday-In the Middle

 

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

 

Colossians 3:7,8

 

If you listen carefully to most people or groups, no one likes to be on one side or the other. Very few want to be thought of as way out there on the fringe. We all like to be liked, and that means being friendly with as many people as possible.

 

Everyone tries to be somewhere in the middle on most subjects. They make choices to put them squarely between each side. That way, they’ve offended as few people as possible. If we stand in the middle of most subjects, there’s less of a chance to offend people.

 

Yes, there are times when you’re forced into that middle space by people or circumstances. Where things aren’t quite one way or the other. I remember listening to Mary Ann’s surgeon reassuring us that he got all of the cancer. But tests showed some other cells that weren’t cancerous, but they weren’t normal either. They were “in the middle” somewhere.

 

But there are certain times in life when you don’t have a choice or chance to be in the middle. You have to be on one side or the other. There’s no middle ground. One or the other is true. Not both. It’s either, or.

 

  • In one country or another.

  • Married or single.

  • Alive or dead.

 

Walking is one of those things that you’re either doing or not doing. You’re walking or standing still. There’s nothing between moving and being motionless. You’re either on the move or stationary. There’s no middle ground. That’s what Paul’s telling the Colossians about their faith. They’re either walking the way they used to or they’re walking with Jesus.

 

Their faith in the one who made a one-time sacrifice for all their sin has to change the way they walk. It must change the way they live. Change what they say. What they think. What they feel. What they do. How they act. And Paul’s honest enough to warn them that it’s not going to be easy. It’s not something that you’d choose to do on your own. It’s not natural to want to make this kind of change. It’s going to hurt.

 

Notice that the Colossians are told to rid themselves of these things and choices. It’s not an option. This isn’t one of the Christian options that we can pick and choose to follow or not. It’s a command. While there are certain things in the Christian life that we can choose. Where there’s liberty. Since Jesus made all food clean[1], we now have freedom to eat any and all kinds of food that people once thought were unclean. And while all food is clean, we should be sensitive to the preferences and beliefs, not wanting to cause a brother or sister to fall[2].

 

This isn’t the kind of choice you make at a restaurant, whether to have an appetizer or not. To have chicken or fish. To save room for desert or not. To have unsweet or sweet iced tea to drink.

 

No, this is so much more serious. We’re not just to casually thinking of these things as optional choices we have in live. Oh no. These are choices that you can’t straddle the fence over. Your on one side or the other. You’re either in or your out.

 

We have to do more than just casually or passively avoid these things. We have to actively choose to get rid of them. We have to be willing to rip them out of our lives and throw them on the trash heap of life.

 

This brings up a tough question. What are you willing to give up for God? If he says to get rid of something, are you ready to throw it away? How much are you ready to give up for the one who loves you? For the one who died for you?

 

On the other side is a really painful problem. What are we not willing to give up? What are the things that God has clearly said we are not to have anything to do with that we just flat refuse to walk away from?

 

Trust me when I tell you that I’m not throwing stones at anyone. This starts right here with me. There have been things that I struggled with for years because I wanted to keep doing it even though God clearly said to stop. And I’m ashamed to admit that even today there are feelings of unforgiveness that I won’t let go of, even though I know that all my sins are forgiven.

 

You see, God’s still at work in you and me. He’s still encouraging and empowering us to change. To become conformed to the image of his son Jesus[3]. We are to follow his example and walk in the way of love just like Christ[4]. When we live like Jesus, we’re on God’s side. He’s 100% sold out for us. Loving us. And that’s the way he wants us to be. Not in the middle, but in him. All the way. Walking with and for him.

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • List three topics that you want to be thought of as in the middle of. Why?

  • When it comes to truth, do you only think in terms of right and wrong? Why?

  • When God forgives, why is he never in the middle?


[1] Mark 7:19

[2] Romans 14:19-21

[3] Romans 8:29

[4] Ephesians 5:1,2

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