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 whatever grievances you may have against one another. 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 word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 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.
Picking up from where we left off yesterday (the putting to death of the earthly nature), today we'll move into a section about what we're to put on. Paul begins this section with another therefore. What's he referring to? Rewind to the first few verses of the chapter. Remember? Yep, you've been raised with Christ ... your life is now hidden with Christ in God. You're new people, Colossians! In fact, Paul says after the 'therefore' that they're God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved. Since that is who they are, they've got new clothes to put on.
So, not only is the Christian to put off or put to death the old self, he is also to put on the new. This is all so active isn't it? Surely the Christian life is not for the faint of heart (which makes me wonder why God invited me into it, because I'm a "quit when the going gets tough" kind.) At the same time, however, it's activity under a blanket of security. What we do (or not) doesn't come into account for one saved by grace. Our pursuit of holiness (putting of the old nature and putting on Christ) is a response to what's already been done in our lives. The need to put off and put on is a daily practice for the Christian. We're not fully sharing in Christ's glory yet, we live on this side of heaven. Sin is always right there with us when we want to do good.
My true heart's desire is to be able to do this once - take of the old crap, put on the beautiful new garments of the fruit of the spirit - and be a model Christian for all to see. But that desire is not about seeing God glorified; it's all about me. Interacting daily with the Gospel, seeing our need to repent and believe the Good News, reminds us what an awesome Savior Jesus is and draws us toward a place of pursuing holiness to love, please, and obey Him. NOT to get one's act together to be admired as a "great Christian person."
Getting back to the passage, Paul lays out a lot of new clothes for us to put on:
I dunno about you, but I need a serious dose of Jesus for those to be growing in increasing measure in my life. After listing all those things, what does Paul say? Verses 16:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
We gotta let the word dwell in us! It is God's Word, taking root in our hearts and minds, that transforms us. Then we can teach, admonish, and encourage fellow believers. There's no magic formula or spell to cast. We start with Jesus (the Word) and we keep walking with Him.
Would you like to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and humility, wrapping it all up with love? Me too. I desire to be a changed person and to bless those around me. How can that happen? The B-I-B-L-E! The Holy Spirit dwells in you, the very power that raised Christ from the dead. Add to that a mind and heart being fed a regular diet of God's Word, and change is coming your way.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Clothe yourself with Christ! He's not in the habit of abandoning people who earnestly seek Him.
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. Colossians 3:17
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