A couple of days ago I read an account of Jesus having a breakfast meeting with His friends around a campfire. So last night before bed I checked the weather and saw that the temp was forecast to be 57 degrees in the morning, and I resolved to have my morning breakfast meeting with The Boss at the Raven Hill fire pit. So there we were, sitting around the RHFP, and The Boss says, “I want you to be filled with the knowledge of My will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of Me, fully pleasing to Me; bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of Me; being strengthened with all power, according to My glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to My Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of Heaven; and who has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to Kingdom of Me, in whom you have redemption and the forgiveness of sins!”

I just stared at The Boss with a surreal and mystified expression on my face.

The Boss continued, saying, “I am the image of the invisible God, and by Me all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Me and for Me; and in Me all things hold together. And I am the head of the body, the church. In Me all the fullness of God is pleased to dwell, and through Myself I reconcile to Myself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by My blood.”

At this point I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.

The Boss continued, saying, “You were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, but now you have been reconciled to Me via My death, in order that I might present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Myself, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of what I’m telling you right now.”

Then I asked The Boss, “What about the people who bother me? I think a lot about the people who bother me, and I obsess over how much they bother me. What should I do about those people?”

The Boss said, “I want your hearts to be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Me, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments, charming philosophies, or human traditions (i.e. all the arguments, traditions, and deceitful philosophies for not forgiving, and not enduring in hard relationships, and not giving people the benefit of the doubt, and not bearing with one another; and “justifying” your grudges, and “validating” your grumbling). Therefore, as you received Me (i.e. desperate and needy, and extremely aware of the fact that you were the chief sinner), so continue like that …receive and relish My mercy and unmerited love for you everyday; knowing that however much others may bother you, in actual point of fact you are the biggest bother; and in this way you will die to your self, you will be crucified with Me, and just like a seed that falls to the ground and dies, you will germinate in the dirt, and thereby you will develop real roots and you will be built up in Me and established in the faith, abounding no longer in grumbling, but abounding in thanksgiving for My amazing grace!”

“But what about legalists?” I asked.

The Boss let out a contemplative and compassionate sigh, and then said, “To be sure, you have to be careful around the leaven of legalists. And certainly I command you to let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. Legalists make these the main things, but the fact is these are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Me. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by their sensuous mind, and not holding fast to Me (check out Luke 24:27 and John 5:39); for in Me the whole body is nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, and in Me the body grows with a growth that is from God. If with Me you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, would you submit to regulations such as—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch,” which are according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. If then you have been raised with Me, seek the things that are above, where I am, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with/in Me. When I who am your life appear, then you also will appear with Me in glory.”

“But some people really really really bother me!” I said.

The Boss said, “As My chosen, holy, and beloved follower, you must put a compassionate heart, and kindness, humility, meekness, and patience; and you must bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, you must forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these you must put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let My peace rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let My word dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to Me. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in My name, giving thanks to My Father through Me.”

“Ok.” I said. “But tell me a little bit more about how to navigate relationships with people who lean toward legalism.”

The Boss said, “Interactions with legalists are certainly tricky, and you must never lose sight of My emphatic warning to ‘Beware of legalistic leaven!’, but at the same time you must recognize and appreciate the fact that I don’t offer you a simplistic path for severing legalist-leaning-leute from your life. People like Aristarchus, Mark (Barnabas’s cousin – concerning whom you have received “instructions“), and Justus …these guys are of the circumcision and they are among My fellow workers for the Kingdom, and they have been a comfort to Me.”

“Copy that, but I am going to need a ton of help from You to pull all of this off!” I said.

“No doubt” The Boss said.

“What! …you don’t think I can do it on my own!?” I challenged.

“Apart from Me you can do nothing.” The Boss said.