Paul begins by reminding us that we are Christ’s. He purchased us with his blood. Therefore, he has a right to have expectations about how we live and behave. As a result, he urges us to focus our hearts and minds on God’s kingdom.
We have a new heart and a new life. It is the life of Christ in us, giving us new motivations, new values, and new power. It is Christ in us that should flow out of us. (Not perfectly. Remember the presence of sin.)
Now, people live inside out. What fills their hearts gets expressed. And it is Jesus who fills th4e hearts of those who give allegiance to Jesus. So, it is Jesus who they should “express”.
- God’s Perspective
When God looks at us, he sees us in Christ. He looks at us through Jesus-colored glasses. When God looks at us, he looks at our hearts, and he sees Jesus in our hearts. No matter how God looks at us, if we have given our allegiance to Jesus, God sees Jesus. And what he expects is Jesus living in the world, in each of his children.
Living My Life
And we should expect Jesus (at least, more of Jesus) to be seen in our lives too. And it shouldn't be this big burden. We are naturally expressing our hearts.
The presence of sin means our hearts (and therefore our actions) malfunction much too often. People pursue "unrighteous" behavior like taking aspirin for a headache, when the real problem is brain cancer. The grit their teeth and try harder. They establish rules.
What is needed is more Jesus flowing from our hearts -- God breaking down the sin wall, allowing more of Jesus to come out.
What is it that breaks down the sin wall. God uses a number of tools. But, as far as people are concerned and can control, engaging in practices that give God permission to flow through their hearts. Things like: worship, prayer, meditation. Being with others of like-mind, even if it's just for pizza, can facilitate God-consciousness and God-connection. Living, loving and serving can deepen channels that God has already broken through., weakening the whole structure.
It is a matter of one's heart. Words and deeds ultimately get changed -- profoundly and truly changed, forever -- in the depths of the heart.