“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Last Sunday I was excited to be back at Holy Cross after a summer in Myrtle Beach and I figured the Lord was too as it turns out that the learning doesn’t just stop now that I am home! I listened to an incredible sermon by The Reverend Chris Warner (can be found here– July 31), which was a part of a sermon series on the book of Colossians. He had a few points to his sermon but one of them stirred up my heart and I couldn’t help but want to share it.
He told a story about a boy who was adopted into a new family. The boy owned nothing but the torn shoes on his feet and the raggedy clothes on his back. His new family bought him an entirely new wardrobe, and they threw out what he came with. The boy felt the love of his family as they welcomed him with open arms, treating him as their own, rather than some unwanted orphan. Later that week the boy started to miss those old shoes and snuck out at night to the dumpster and dug them up. He put them back on his feet, but they didn’t quite fit like they used to. He also noticed that they smelled terrible and didn’t match the rest of his clean clothes. Despite all of this, he hid them under the bed so that he could always reach down and grab them if he wanted to.
Now at this point you’re probably thinking “why on earth does that kid want those shoes when he has a closet full of new ones?!” The truth is that this boy represents every single child of Christ out there, including you and me. Those old shoes are the sins we can’t seem to let go of, as we fall short of perfection in every way. They represent hate, anger, bitterness, immorality, impurity, etc. We like the comfort they bring us, even if they don’t match our hearts for the Lord, push us away from Him, or cause more long term damage than the short term pleasure we seek.
The good news is that we receive immeasurable grace because of the Cross. The Lord isn’t going to rub our faces in our sins as an owner would do to a dog who went to the bathroom inside the house. The Lord wants us to throw those old shoes away and put on the robes of righteousness that were bought for us. He is “my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14) and I know I do not have to live in shame or guilt. He invites all of us who feel “too far gone” or broken or hurt, or worn out, or let down by the world to put on new shoes that were bought specifically for each one of us. “Look up here!” He says as He calls us to live in our new identity in Christ. Leave out what has been thrown away and let in what the Lord has for us, because it is so much sweeter than we ever could imagine.