8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others. 9 And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.
10 Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. 11 It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
In the words of verse 11, following Christ is “all that matters.”
We are Christians; and as such, we have a new life through our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is our focus. This is what matters! We may not always agree with differing human judgments and laws about what is acceptable behavior and what is not. We may come from completely different walks of life and therefore not really understand another’s life –even though we are so sure that we do.
All that matters is that we are all changed by following the life and ways of Jesus. We are challenged to be different by his example. “Each of you is a new person,” we read in verse 10. Whether we grew up in the church or came to know God later, at some point, we all must decide when and how we will change because of the calling of Jesus on our lives and then live into this change.
One hard lesson for me has always been that despite my salvation, changing my behavior is never easy. Just think of all those new year’s resolutions – which are never easily kept and often easily broken. So even wanting to change is never enough!
But, as followers of Jesus, all that matters is that we change our ways because our focus is through Christ’s example. When we fall, we ask for forgiveness through prayer, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again. All that matters is that our focus remains on Jesus. Christ is all that matters and he lives in and through all of us.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
The life changes that result from following Jesus are not easily made. We will be challenged to do hard things. We will be challenged to change in unimaginable ways. Jesus never promised that following him would be easy. In what ways has being a Christian challenged you to do hard things in Jesus’ name? How have you changed/grown through God’s mission in your life?
Prayer: Loving Jesus, thank you for my salvation. Thank you for showing me the way to follow you, even though this feels so hard at times. Thank you for your love and understanding when I falter. Please help me to continue to follow and turn my heart to yours in all that I do. Amen.
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