On Monday morning, we woke to a torrential rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning. Snickers, our chocolate lab (aka water dog), refused to go out in the back yard and so I put on my rain slicker and boots. Needless to say when I walked back into the house, my clothes were soaking wet. The first thing I wanted to do was get out of those wet clothes – to put them off – and to put on some dry clothes. Since we have been reading the book of Colossians this month, it brought Paul’s words to life.
As the apostle Paul continues his letter to the church at Colossae, he addresses some of the specific characteristics of our calling in everyday life. This is where our Christian walk gets real and where the rubber meets the road. Are we really living it?
“…seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” ~Colossians 3:9, 10 (emphasis mine)
In Colossians 3:5-9, Paul lists specific practices in our old life that we should “put to death.” And then in Colossians 3:12-17, he tells us what characteristics to “put on the new self.” To be honest, we could pour over these 6 verses intently over the next few weeks and dig out some true nuggets of gold. Let’s dig in and see what’s here!
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … And be thankful. Let the word of Christ 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 God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~Colossians 3:12-17 (emphasis mine)
Let me just share two characteristics that stood out to me as I have read Colossians this week.
Compassion means to feel deep sorrow or sympathy for another and to seek to alleviate their suffering. We can’t always “fix” the hard stuff in another person’s life but we can take the time to listen, ask caring questions, and pray with them.
~ How can I demonstrate a compassionate heart today?
Kindness can be shown in the tone of our voice, the sparkle in our eyes, or a thoughtful gesture. Hold the door open for someone. Help a person reach an item on a high shelf in the grocery store.
~ How can I show kindness today?
After walking outside in a heavy rainstorm, it wouldn’t even occur to me to stay in those wet clothes. Rather, I would quickly put on dry clothes. In a similar manner, let’s practice holy living as God’s chosen ones every day.