I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if Jesus were not a part of it. I said yes to his invitation when I was only six. In a cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I sensed Jesus asking if he could live in my heart. I said yes! For many years, I assumed the invitation came because I sinned and Jesus offered to cleanse me from that sin. But as I reflected on that night, there was no shame or guilt on my part, no awareness of sin. The invitation was one of deep love, as Jesus expressed his desire to walk with me through life. I was changed forever.

3We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. 6This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

Colossians 1:3-6

I read this scripture this week and found it comforting. Paul is writing to the church in Colosse. He has never met these people, but writes to encourage them in their faith. He begins the letter by noting what they are already doing well. These are the qualities he commends them for . . .

He commends them for their faith and their love for others. He explains that these both grow from their hope of heaven. I meditated on that for a while. My love for others is directly impacted by what I believe and understand about my inheritance in heaven. I am able to freely give love to others because heaven is so rich, I don’t need to be stingy in giving. Wow!

Secondly, the fruit of the Good News (this is the gospel about Jesus) changes lives. When people hear the good news and understand God’s grace, lives change. It’s a fact. I think I have been a follower of Jesus so long (fifty years!!), I forget to be amazed at how my life is different. Paul says it like this . . .

14. . . {God } purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Colossians 1:14

Imagine for a moment that you buy a house, borrowing the entire amount from The Local Bank. Eventually, The Local Bank sells your mortgage to Big City Bank. Now you are enslaved to this bank until you have paid your debt. And then you get a notice in the mail. Your debt has been forgiven, wiped out, paid in full! That news would change your life, wouldn’t it?

We were all slaves to sin, apart from God and separated from his love. And then Jesus, through his death on the cross, bought our debt. Now you might think you are still enslaved, just a different master. But no! He canceled your debt, forgave anything written against you! You are truly free for the first time in your life!

But there must be a catch, right? Not really. He only asks that you love him with all your thoughts, feelings, intentions and strength, love who he made you to be and then love others too. Let your whole life be guided by this magnificent love!

We do that well because we are convinced that he has reserved a special inheritance for us in heaven. So there’s no need to be stingy with our resources of love while we wait!

Wow! That’s a lot for one day! How did your life change when you heard the good news? If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, what prevents you from believing the good news that your debt is purchased and then marked PAID IN FULL!?

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