*This blog post was adapted from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 5/1/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
Last week, we looked at how sometimes we need to do radical things to remove sin from our lives. Colossians 3:8 instructs us to “put away” anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
This week, we will look at what we should “put on” to replace what we’ve taken off. Colossians 3:12 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…”
As we can see, being transformed in Christ is about more than just putting away our sin tendencies. We are to replace them with love. Here is a look at how we can do that.
The past two years have been difficult for most of us. Many people are feeling more alienated than ever from their friends and families and choosing to neglect their relationships. This self-imposed isolation is unhealthy and unwise for multiple reasons.
Psychology tell us strong attachments:
Contrastly, people who do not have meaningful relationship often struggle with higher levels of anxiety and depression, are more likely to be suicidal, and are more emotionally fragile. They also are at higher risk of burnout and are more likely to perform poorly at their jobs.
God designed us for relationships. As believers, we need to press into the challenges of relationships, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Fellowship with other believers helps us to learn how to replace the bad things in our lives with the good.
Community with believers helps us to rid ourselves of our selfish tendencies and replace them with God’s mission. Sometimes, other believers will need to speak hard truths to us to knock us out of our complacency and help us to refocus on serving others.
To love others well, we need to accept God’s love for us. We find this baseline in Colossians 3:12, which says that we are chosen, holy, and dearly loved. That is who we are! When we don’t feel God’s love, we can ask God to help us understand the depth of His love. Ask Him to reveal the truth to you so that His love can pour out of you onto others.
Once we recognize the truth that we are chosen, holy, and dearly loved, we are instructed to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. This “putting on” needs to be intentional, even when we don’t feel like it.
Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience are all iterations of what love looks like. We are being called to take off our sinful tendencies (which are all about us) and put on love (which is about everyone else).
When we are unsure of how to love others, we can ask ourselves: How did Jesus love people? In the gospels, we can see that Jesus saw people as they were. He reached out to the sick, the poor, and the hurting– those who were cast out by others. He had compassion and showed kindness to those who were considered “the least of these.” This is what we are called to do, as well.
Humility helps us to be compassionate and loving toward others. When we are humble, we recognize that every good thing we do is only by the grace of God. So, when others offend us or hurt us, we can respond with gentleness because we know that – if not for God’s grace – we could be doing the same thing.
We are also called to show meekness. Meekness means having the weapons to hurt others, but choosing not to use them. For example, we might find ourselves in conversations where we know the perfect thing to say to shut the other person down. If we are doing this for the purpose of building a wall between us and the other person (rather than a bridge), we are not acting with meekness and humility. Therefore, we are not acting in love.
Colossians 3:13-14 continues “...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.”
This verse shows us that “putting on love” also means forgiving others. We can forgive others when they wrong us, because we ourselves have been forgiven. We should not hold others accountable for their debts when we ourselves have had our own debts forgiven!
Our passage for today ends with more passive language: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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. 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 3:15-17)
Letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts requires that we take a step back. Instead of insisting that we call all the shots, we allow Him to be in the driver’s seat of our lives. When we encounter frustrating situations, we should allow Christ to make the call on how things are going to go. We give the scenario over to Him and let His peace rule over it.
These verses also tell us to do three things that will allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts: Be thankful, be immersed, and be purposeful.
In those frustrating scenarios, we can recalibrate our minds by focusing on thankfulness to God. We can even thank Him for the hard things in our lives and that He is faithful.
Verse 16 gives us a picture of what it’s like to be immersed in church. God wants us to be in community with other believers – studying His Word, worshiping, and holding one another accountable. If we want to live richly, we need to be immersing ourselves in church and worshiping God with others. As we do this, our hearts will begin to be transformed.
Lastly, we need to be purposeful. The reason that we do everything we do should be for the glory of God. We tend to make everything about ourselves. But when we center our lives around that purpose of glorifying God, we will truly be transformed!
Mandy manages CFC’s social media presence. She started attending CFC in 2016 after God led her to visit the church with her husband, Ben. Mandy also serves on the Writing and Research Team for the Women’s Ministry and as a preschool teacher for Community Kids. She is grateful for the opportunity to combine her love of content creation with her desire to serve the Lord. Mandy lives in Lancaster with Ben and their three girls: Elyse, Evelyn, and Ella.