A little section of Colossians 3, with some notes:
But now, put [your former sinful life] behind you. Okay, Paul, but how? No more evil temper or furious rage: no more evil thoughts or words about others, no more evil thoughts or words about God, and no more filthy conversation. That's fine, Paul, but some specifics on how to have 'no more' of those would be super helpful! Don’t tell each other lies any more... Okay. But how, Paul?! ...for you have finished with the old man and all he did and have begun life as the new man, who is out to learn what he ought to be, according to the plan of God. In this new man of God’s design there is no distinction between Greek and Hebrew, Jew or Gentile, foreigner or savage, slave or free man. Christ is all that matters for Christ lives in them all. Imagine life through the eyes of Paul. One day, you're on your way to Damascus filled with a (you think!) righteous indignation and a plan to attack and arrest. Suddenly, at noonday, a light so thick that it feels tangible hits you and you hear a voice from the sky. The voice is that of the One you're trying to stamp out. And now you're blind. Three days later, a man walks in and lays hands on you - one of the men whose name had been on your arrest list. Suddenly you can see. But with completely new eyes. (Consider again: "for you have finished with the old man and all he did and have begun life as the new man, who is out to learn what he ought to be, according to the plan of God") I love that picture! After Ananias, Paul's whole life was given to the study of "learning what he ought to be" as this "new man." Is that how you spend your Quiet Times? "Lord Jesus, you've made me brand new; now please teach me what that means for your purposes." That will certainly change the way you read and think! (Consider again: "In this new man of God’s design there is no distinction between Greek and Hebrew, Jew or Gentile, foreigner or savage, slave or free man.") Imagine Paul's surprise in then learning this! Not only has Jesus made all men one, but he's calling Paul to reach out to the unreachable and to love the unloveable - and the same call is ours! But with what mindset and in what reality can we do that? (Consider again: "Christ is all that matters for Christ lives in them all.") A-ha! Only by the power of an indwelling Jesus. And why? Because He's actually all that matters.
As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself... Stop there! How glorious is that self-identity that's given to us by God Himself?! Are you kidding! He has chosen each one of you to, each day, all throughout your life, show the rest of the world just how good it is to belong to this Jesus! No identity can, or should ever be allowed to try to, compete with that identity that's been granted us.
Thank you, Jesus, for the graciousness of your Plan!