What’s on your list?
Your grades, your place on the team, how popular you are, what kind of car you drive, how many followers you have on Instagram?
You know that list — the one filled with the things we use to describe ourselves, to make us stand out, to remind us we are someone.
Except God isn’t really interested in all that. God is interested in who we are without all that stuff.
God, who favors the lowly over kings. God, who says the last shall be first and the first shall be last. God, who is recognized not by a crown, but by wounded hands and feet.
God, who wants us to add to our lists (and lives) words like love, forgiveness, grace, and honesty.
So, what’s on your list?
Let’s see what God may want to add…next >
So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things. You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things.
Colossians 3:5-7next >
Lists like this one appear several times in the letters to churches in the New Testament, as well as in other Christian writings. Sort of a holy to-do list or, in this case, a not to-do list. These lists were helpful to early Christians, and they are helpful to us — but every list of vices should be read through the lens of Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
Too often Christians have used these list as weapons against people with whom they’ve disagreed, disliked, or disapproved. This judgment is especially easy around issues of sex. And yes, we can interpret this list to encompass ways we treat our physical bodies in a sexual way.
But what if we thought about these more broadly?
Do we have unclean (mean) thoughts about another when we focus on our dislike for them? Do we give equal passion to our relationship with God as we do to other activities? Do we desire bad things for those people who we don’t like?
God loves us and wants our thoughts, words, and deeds to be a response to that holy love.
Laurie Brocknext >
Almighty God, who knows my innermost thoughts, allow me courage to admit my sin against you in thought, word, and deed; grant me grace to ask forgiveness when I have harmed another child of God; and give me strength to love you more perfectly each day, choosing what is good and holy, even when that choice is challenging and difficult, in the example of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.next >
The night before Jesus is handed over to his crucifixion and death, he gathers with his friends to share bread and wine. And he reminds them to love.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another,” Jesus tells them and us.
Love invites us to seek what matters – our relationship with God – and reminds us we encounter God in all those we meet.
Jesus knew that love isn’t always an easy choice. He lived it. And he believes in us enough to ask us, “Will you love one another?”
And if you will, how will you live that love each moment, day, and choice in your life?
Laurie Brock serves as the rector of St. Michael the Archangel in Lexington, Kentucky. She is an active blogger on the messiness of faith and love at dirtysexyministry.com, a contributor (Celebrity Blogger) for Lent Madness (lentmadness.org), and a coach for clergy and laity on using social media to spread the Gospel. When she isn’t preaching, writing, or tweeting, she’s riding her horse Nina.
Things Done And Left Undone: Jesus Calls Us