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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
August 2, 2001

Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. 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.
Colossians 3:10-11 (CEV*)

In this world, people often choose how they relate to others by such factors as their race or ethnic background, their religious tradition, their cultural background, and their station in life. This was even more true in the setting in which this passage was written. This way of choosing how we relate to others often leads to wars, economic injustice, and social stigmas.

Paul was telling the church at Colassae that their faith was bringing them out of this way of relating to others. By allowing Christ to live within them, they were transformed so they could look at people as Jesus did, not as the world does.

Paul told the faithful that the kinds of differences that meant so much to the world around them, and that still often do in our world today, don't really matter. God isn't judging people by these factors, and if we put on Christ, we too will be looking for the inward reality not for these external characteristics.

The kinds of prejudices to which Paul refers can exert a very strong hold on us. Even when people realize in their minds that these are harmful, they often find it very difficult to overcome the hold that these attitudes has on them. I remember a story from my youth of someone who came to an interracial faith community in the deep south knowing intellectually that segregation was wrong but who got physically ill if at a meal with someone of a different race. Through faith in Christ, they were able to overcome this.

Dear friends, may we focus on Christ and not on the things the world considers important. May we allow Christ to transform us into a people who transcend these worldly differences; whose prejudices are pushed out of our lives as we allow Christ to fill us. May those around us see Christ in us and learn that they too can be transformed by the love of Christ.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:58:27 EST