Colossians 3 is a convicting chapter. Paul tells us, as followers of Christ, we are to be different. The way we used to live is the past; we have a new way of operating that should be apparent to everyone around us.
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
So, we are to put off our old way of living to include big ticket things as well as what we may consider small ticket items. Anything that doesn’t line up with this new life we have received, Paul implores us to put off and replace with things that reflect on the outside the change that has occurred on the inside.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
If we each took this chapter seriously, we would impact the world around us dramatically. If we really wrapped ourselves up with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and chose to make allowance for each other instead of being offended and refusing to forgive, we could start a revolution. Because to behave that way is so counter cultural.
What would it be like if we each wrote down Colossians 3:12-15 and kept it with us in a place we could see regularly? What if every morning we got up and prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to fill us with His mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? What is every time someone offended us this week, we would choose forgiveness over bitterness and gossip? I double dog dare you to give it a try and see what happens. The bravest, most courageous people I know strive to live this way and I am doing my best to follow their example. I do better some days than others, but what I’ve learned is that by even trying to live this way I am more aware of God presence with me and in me. The power to change is available to each one of us if we choose to accept it.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach