Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father gently correct our hearts and minds today. Father search out any sin, any foolishness, and blindness in us, and lead us back to you, closer to you in intimacy. For as our relationship with you is always secure, our intimacy is not. I don't understand fully why you do it Father, but you have given us great power over how close we are to you! You call us to obedience, to repentance, to worship, to submission, and to so many other things that are so hard. And you call us to do much of this together, as your children. Father, in the name of your Son Jesus, by the Spirit within us, help us to sincerely seek out your Will in your Word that we might obey you better and more! Amen.
Your Morning Song: "One and Only" by Rend Collective
Your Morning Scripture: Colossians 3:16
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
You don't need to double-check. Yes, this is the same exact verse as yesterday's devotional. I try not to do this too often, but there is great value in occasionally sitting with a single verse for several devos in a row. Because the Bible is unlike any other book. It is alive, and so richly full of God's Will, His desires and His designs, that there is always more in scripture.
And so today I want to return to yesterday's verse from Colossians and chew on just one word. Admonish.
What is your experience with this word? A bit uncommon. Not a word most of us would typically use in our every-day life. It seems a bit archaic, though not overly so. So why is it that this word, non-threatening and old-fashioned as it may seem, is actually the tip of an iceberg that lurks very dangerously below its surface appearance?
The answer is perhaps best begun in how we, the Church, have been talking about another word, judgement. Don't do it. Don't judge. The Bible ever says so. Don't judge me. Don't judge others. Don't judge yourself. We could all do a little better. Don't. Don't. Don't.
But in this verse, among many others, we are called to admonish each other. And even using that word judge, Paul says we are, in fact, to judge each other within the church, as the church. What is going on here? Why is there so much confusion about this family of words? Is the Bible contradicting itself?
Within the word judgement there are two definitions within scripture. We can condemn and we can admonish each other, both are forms of judgement. When we condemn, we are making an ultimate, eternal statement about someone, usually because we don't want to have to deal with them or interact with them. We are taking God's role as the Ultimate, Eternal Judge. And we many things, but we are not that. We should not condemn because when we try it is a lie, because we do not have the authority to do that.
What does admonish mean then? It means to make a judgement about someone else, based on God's Word, and then to interact with that person to help them. You might lovingly call them to repent of sin. You might gently correct them of foolishness. You might very humbly point out a blind spot. But you admonish someone because you love them and want to be closer to them, and with them, together, closer to God. When you condemn someone, you are not loving them. You are trying to create the ultimate excuse to get away from them.
And here is the unfortunate truth. Condemning is a lie and admonishing is very hard to do well and costs a lot of us (but not more than the cost Jesus paid for us). And so we, the Church, have taken condemnation and admonishment, called them both "judgement," and swept it all under the rug. Don't judge. Don't judge. Don't judge.
What a horrific, messy, worldly shame.
What are we going to do, Church? Will we continue in this foolishness? Or will we lift up the rug, drag out our mess, repent, and start setting things aright?
And then yesterday's devo comes back to us. We have to be together for this to work. We are brothers and sisters. We are one body. We are one house of worship in which lives one Spirit, who makes us like the one God-man, Jesus, who even now keeps us in the presence of our one Heavenly Father.
We are, each of us, in desperate need of each other. I need you. You need me. And we all together, daily, and desperately need Jesus. And contrary to popular/unbiblical belief, the judgement known as admonishment will be one of the ties that bind us together.
If I am sinning, or foolish, or blind to something, tell me! And if I am wise, I will thank you for taking an active hand in my sanctification. For joining in the work of the Spirit that tills the soil of my soul. For helping me to become more like our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.
May our love for one another be biblical, even and especially when that is hard to do. May we teach and admonish each other from out of the richness of the message of Christ that dwells within us, led by the Spirit.
May we be a people known as "Obeys the Whole Bible."