These verses can feel like a tall order. Ask for God’s help, moment by moment, to walk in love, patience, and forgiveness with all in your path.
Read COLOSSIANS 3:12-17
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘O Lord, let me not henceforth desire health or life except to spend them for you, with you and in you.’1
This whole new wardrobe of Christly possibilities is a wonderful promise. We can be clothed with qualities that resonate with the fruit of the Spirit.2 Look carefully at the list of five qualities that balance yesterday’s two sets of five. Nobody thought these were virtues in the pagan world, and they still do not today. No obvious human ambition is listed, rather, there is a startling new way.
Compassion heads the list, for it is a peculiarly Christian word of deep sensitivity and tenderness toward those who are suffering. Nobody has modeled this like Jesus did. It is accompanied by kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. These Christly qualities radiate beauty and build relationships. Practically, they result in not only being able to bear with problem people but to forgive them for the problems they cause us. Hanging in the wardrobe as an overcoat over all these virtues is love, which uniquely sums up Christian ethics. Putting on these qualities is essential for us to live in peace and grow together, learning more of Christ’s word (v 15). The quickest way to destroy unity and peace is to act in ways opposite to this list. Unkindness, pride, harshness, and impatience destroy relationships at a stroke.
Interestingly, verse 16 mentions song as having a role in teaching us God’s truths, as well as enabling praise and thanksgiving. The three types of song cannot easily be separated, but they testify to worship’s variety and richness and our learning and gratitude within it. All this teaching about a daily choice of Jesus involves everything we think, say and do (v 17). I believe that one of the tasks of a daily quiet time with the Lord involves choosing Christly clothes for the day ahead.
Today’s passage challenges us deeply: will the people who meet us know that we have opened the Christly character wardrobe? Or not?
Mighty God, my prayer today is that you will transform me so that my life will demonstrate the difference that Jesus Christ can make in a life.
1 Blaise Pascal, 1623–62 2 Gal 5:22–26
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