Daily Update #360

Pause: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”   Psalm 133 : 1
Reading: Colossians 3 : 12 – 17

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
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 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.  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.”

Yesterday’s Reflection, from Sarah, focussed on the importance of getting rid of those things in our lives which prevent us from having a relationship with our Heavenly Father, and which also damage our relationships with each other.  Yesterday the verses we were looking at began with the words, “Put to death, therefore”, quite strong language emphasising the need for the transformation of our actions and our thinking.  Our reading for this morning again begins with a “therefore”, but here Paul is telling his readers, and of course us, to put on what will bring about that transformation.
Firstly, Paul tells us to clothe ourselves, or to put on, the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Paul also includes in this the need for us to exercise tolerance and forgiveness, reminding us that we have been forgiven by the saving grace of our Lord Jesus.  This might seem to be a rather daunting challenge from Paul, but the Lord does not expect the necessary changes to happen overnight, and neither should we.  The Christian life is a learning process, and as we read the Bible, and also read about Christians who have gone before us, we realise that we may have a lot to learn, and perhaps a long way to go, but we are not alone on our journey.  The Holy Spirit is in us and with us every step of the way, revealing the truths of our new life of faith, and we can trust him to lead us and guide us on our way.  We are on a pilgrimage as we seek to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, whose life on earth demonstrated each of these virtues in abundance, and although we will never, of course, achieve the perfection that was in him we can daily grow more like Him.  We are then told, in verse 14, to put on love, which binds all these virtues together in perfect unity.  That of course is what we see in the whole of the life of Jesus here on earth; everything that he did was motivated by his love for the Father and his love for a needy world.
It might seem that what Paul is saying here is that there is still a work to be done to complete our salvation, but that is certainly not the case.  On the Cross of Calvary Jesus cried out, “It is finished”, confirming that when we accept him as our Lord and Saviour we immediately enter into a new relationship with God as our Heavenly Father.  However, we need to grow in our faith, as Peter reminds us in the second chapter of his first letter, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…”  Through our reading of the Bible, through prayer, and through our fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters, we can, and should, grow in our faith and in our walk with the Lord.
The second part of today’s reading speaks about the fellowship that the Colossian Christians were experiencing, and Paul here encourages them in their worship, in their sharing of the word of Christ, and in their thankfulness to God the Father.  We may not have been able to gather together very much over the past 18 months or so, but I’m sure that I am not the only one who has been encouraged and blessed by what we have been able to achieve as a fellowship.  As lockdown eases we will be able to spend more time together, and that can only be something to rejoice in.  Twice in this part of our reading Paul writes of thankfulness, and despite everything that has happened we can be thankful that we having a loving Heavenly Father, that we have a living Lord Jesus who gave himself for us, and that we have the Holy Spirit of God with us and in us to guide us and teach us on this wonderful journey we are on.
Prayer:  Almighty God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for all that you have done for us through your Son Jesus.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will continue to lead us in his footsteps, that we may grow more like Jesus every day.       AMEN