Camping Through Colossians Day 4
Day 4 with Campers
Pray: “Father God, as we begin the second half of this week, renew our energy and our minds. We know the campers better now, we have a team rhythm, and we have some expectations in place. Help us to walk in the truth, Lord, that all things are possible with you. Help us to remember that no camper is beyond your reach. No culture is outside of your domain. No lost child or adult in our midst is too hard for you to save. Do it, please, Lord Jesus, for your name’s sake. May the lost souls in our midst be found by you, even today. God, you are merciful and able. We call on your name and your power today. Amen.”
Read: Colossians 3:6-16
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 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.14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Read and Respond:
Again, we see a “therefore” in the first sentence of this passage. What is it there for?
If it’s true that we have died and our lives are hidden with Christ in God, Paul calls us to set our minds on the things of Christ and to put to death the earthly sins in which we once walked. Take a minute to confess in prayer (alone, with a journal, or with your team or with a prayer partner) areas where you still walk in sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Don’t rush through identifying, naming, and confessing specific sins, and asking Jesus, the head of the body who is preeminent over all things, to renew you and help you to reject and turn from whatever is earthly in you.
These earthly habits are likely a way of life in the culture in which you are now ministering. Chances are that even the youth in your setting our highly sexualized and have possibly never been exposed to a way of thinking that prioritizes the image of God in every human being. Paul says the wrath of God is coming on account of these. Look for ways today (or even talk now about how) to elevate the dignity of all people. Remember with compassion what it was like to be enslaved to such sin, thank God for the freedom his given you.
Are you wrestling (this week or in general) with any sins of the old self, such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, or lying? Again, confess those now to one another and to the Lord. Name them and ask God to help you repent and be renewed. Ask him to help you put off the old self and put on the new self.
What a relief and joy that God is able and willing to renew us after his own image. What good news that we have a Savior who is also our Creator! You and I do not have to conjure up our new selves. It is not dependent upon us to make ourselves new. But Christ in us, the hope of glory, will renew us.
Our Creator is also the Creator of our campers. Undoubtedly, you have experienced some culture shock between your culture and that of the campers. Or perhaps you experienced it when you first entered the country. It’s difficult for us to separate our national or ethnic identity from our identity in Christ. It can be tempting to equate our cultural ways with the right wayor the godly way.
Verse 11 reminds us that our national or ethnic heritage is secondary to our heritage in Christ. Therefore, the Christians in your current cultural context are, in fact, more intimately connected to you than your own friends and family back home who are not in Christ. Our Christian family is not chosen by us, but given to us, by our Father. And our global Christian family is very diverse!
Pause and ask yourself and your team: are there traditions or values in this context that are held by the local believers that are hard for you because of your national identity? Have you looked down on the local church or the local culture because they don’t do things the way your culture does? Remember and rehearse to one another that Christ is all and in all and that your Christian identity is priority over your national identity. Christ unites you with the global church—even in all her idiosyncrasies and unique expressions around the world.
Because of Jesus you are holy and beloved (v 12)! Remember that because of Jesus, your clothing today should be compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other. We put these things on because of Christ. Not because we are good people and not because the people around us deserve it. But because Christ has displayed these things to us and enables us to walk in them too.
Paul says that love will bind everything together in perfect harmony. How can you love your team today? How can you love local Christians today? How can you love your campers today?
How can you let peace rule in your heart today? What are you feeling anxious or worried about? What do you need to hand over to Christ, the Prince of Peace?
And for what are you thankful? List at least ten things about this camp, this team, your campers, your host country, for which you are thankful.
Look back over these first few chapters of Colossians. Are there any words of Christ that you want to ruminate over or share with one another? Write one verse or one phrase from Colossians that you want the Lord to remind you of all day today.
Close your time as a team singing the doxology.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.