Shunning and Pursuing

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Some Christians desire nothing more than to live victoriously, but they’ve adopted a faulty method. Instead of building positive godly qualities, they live to simply avoid all evil. Of course, the Bible is quick to commend avoiding evil, but we need to also pursue good:

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

In Colossians 3, Paul lists a catalog of godly virtues for Christians to pursue:

“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13).

If we only avoid evil, we create a vacuum of sorts. In fact, we view godliness in negative terms only. But look at the cluster of spiritual fruit mentioned just above, such as “compassion,” “humility,” and “meekness.” Of course, we find these qualities in our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s no wonder the Bible commands us to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). Jesus lived the perfect life, a life filled to perfection with these godly virtues. Some Christians want to be known for the things they shun, rather than the virtues they seek. Elsewhere, Paul yearned for his Galatians readers, that Christ would be formed in them (Galatians 4:19).

When we spend time seeking Christ-like qualities, we won’t fall prey to sinful entrapments to the same degree as before. We can even become an example to others to follow:

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

Finally, remember the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We cannot hope to prosper by pouting over past failures. Seek God and His strength, and encourage others to do the same. Rejoice over sins forgiven and pray for power and wisdom to resist temptation. One day, in the not-too-distant future, God will wipe away all pain, hurt and mourning (Revelation 21:4). No wonder the Apostle John cried out, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

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