Book of Colossians, part four

This next part of Colossians that jumped out at me doesn’t really need much explaining, it’s just the guide to a great life. Let this be our standards of operation, our daily guidebook for living.

Colossians 3:12-17 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 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.

What a gorgeous guide to follow for daily living. It’s my deep desire for those five verses to be what people see when they look at believers. My friends, it’s time to shatter the stereotype so many people have about Christians. It’s time to shatter it once and for all. So many people see us as hypocrites, as people who say one thing on Sunday morning and do another thing on Friday night. People who stand in judgment over others. And let’s be honest, some Christians live up to the stereotype. I’ll be even more honest, there have been times in my life when I’ve lived up to the stereotype, saying one thing but doing another. I’m not perfect, there are times even now when I lose my patience, or maybe I’m not as kind in a situation as I should be. But, if we’re living with Colossians 3:12-17 as our blueprint, that’s what they’ll start to attribute to Christians. They may see our occasional slip, our occasional weakness, but that’s okay, because they’ll also know us as a compassionate and kind people, humble and patient, forgiving and thankful, full of love. And they’ll want to get to know us better, and they’ll want to get to know this amazing God of ours better.

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As I came to the end of Colossians one last set of verses really jumped off the page at me.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

I’m so familiar with this verse despite the fact I’ve never read Colossians before now. My parents hit me with this verse a lot growing up. I needed to hear it a lot, as I was a terrible employee at most jobs I had as a young man. Even though I knew the verse, the importance of it didn’t really sink in for me until much later in life. Truthfully I still struggle with this one a bit.

I’m going to share the words from one of my study books, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, as I really love how they sum up this particular verse:

“In this sense, there is no difference between secular and sacred work. All is sacred.”

What an incredible blast of truth that is. We should be representing Jesus in everything, not just in our worship and Bible study, but in our chores, in the taking out of the trash, the cleaning of our homes, the mopping of the floors at work. I’m not working at my job just for my boss, I’m doing it for my King, and as such I should approach it with vigor, excitement, energy, and integrity. There is great honor in flipping burgers if you’re flipping them with joy in your heart for Jesus the king of all creation. There is great honor in scrubbing the bathroom floor, because you’re scrubbing that floor not just for your spouse, not just for your children, not just for the landlord, but for Jesus Christ. It may sound silly, but the fact is that we’re never off the clock with God. He is the king of our lives 24/7, and as such we’re always representing Him. Our attitude, our action, our level of effort, they should all be influenced by the fact that we’re serving the highest power in existence. Imagine the difference you can make by being the happiest, most joyful, hardest working toilet cleaner in the history of the department store business. Within a week someone is going to stop you, remind you how much your job is supposed to suck, and ask why you treat it like it doesn’t suck. And when you get someone asking those kinds of questions, you get the chance to carry out our great purpose and tell them about a person named Jesus who changed your outlook on everything in life, including cleaning toilets.

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As Paul signs off on this letter he says something that really caught my eye.

Colossians 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

This guy who shared so beautifully about Jesus, about the things of God, about the assurance of salvation, this guy whose words just exude joy, he was in prison when he wrote all of this. During this study of Colossians I wrote about a spirit of thanksgiving and how we should have it even on the hard days. Paul sure had it, even during imprisonment. That’s the level of joy and thanksgiving I want, the level that can’t be snuffed out no matter what the world throws against me and no matter where circumstance lands me.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, thank you for the book of Colossians.  Thank you for putting it on my brother’s heart to guide me to this book.  You knew there were things here for me, and like always you were so right.  What a collection of beautiful truths this book has to offer.  Your word is so beautiful, Lord, it truly is a light for the world.  I feel the warmth of the Bible, like being by a roaring fire on a cold night.  It sustains me and comforts me, I’m just so blown away by its beauty.  Father, I pray right now that you give us the strength of character to live out this word.  Our lives are living testaments to you, my words and deeds speak of you, so let them be holy and good.  Let those around us see you in everything we do.  Let them feel our compassion, let them witness our thanksgiving, let them experience our joy.  Let them flock around us and want to know more about you, and give us the wisdom and boldness to share you.  I ask for beautiful words to speak when I’m telling people about you.  Grant me the soul of a poet, Lord, when I speak of you, because I want to accurately capture your goodness and your love when I tell people about all that you are.  Draw people to you, and put mighty men and women of God in their path.  I ask that you give me guidance, guide me every day towards anyone that needs a touch of you.  Be alive in my smile, Lord, let even my friendly wave speak of your friendship and love.  Build me up, not for my own sake, but so that I can do even more in your name.  I have all the joy and gladness a man could ever need, because I have you.  Now all I want to do is share you with others.  Please continue to give me those opportunities, and grant me the boldness to seize them when they appear.  Thank you for your love, Jesus, your unending love.  You died for me.  You suffered so much for me.  You are my friend.  Thank you for all that you are in my life, and all that you’re doing in my life.  I delight in you, Lord.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

I hope you all enjoyed these Colossians posts as much as I did.  Truthfully, it was a nice break from all the kings and kingdoms and battles of the Old Testament.  Although now that my Bible reading is focused back on the Old Testament I’ve been inspired again and again.  God’s definitely got me where he wants me in His word, and it’s such a joy to study it and be instructed and inspired by it.  I’m very excited about all the upcoming blog posts!

I love all of you, and I hope the week is treating you well.  God loves you, He is with you wherever you go.  You are never alone.  If you need prayer for anything I’d love to pray for you, so please reach out to me via email or Facebook or however with any prayer requests you may have.

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