It’s a challenging time to live as a Christian. As a matter of fact, for me, I don’t call myself a “Christian” anymore. Instead, I say that I’m a follower of Jesus. So many people claim the identification as a Christian but act in a manner that doesn’t seem appropriate or like Jesus at all and it leaves me wondering, how do I actually live like Jesus in today’s world? I think we find the answer to that question in Colossians 3:12-17. We’ll be taking this passage apart over the next few blogs.
The mandate. “Put on…” In the original text the word used to portray this putting on is enduo which means “in the sense of sinking into a garment” (Strong’s exhaustive concordance, 1746). I love this picture because it makes me think of a big, fluffy, soft robe that is a little too big so that it wraps around you fully encompassing every inch of your body. High neck so that it is half way up your head and long, so that it reaches your ankles. If you were to walk past someone you would almost look like a floating robe. Right out of the gate, God is calling us to cloth ourselves in what is coming next. Make these characteristics part of who we are and how we operate…make them essential.
The declaration. “…as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved…” God moves from the mandate of His expectation to the declaration of our position. We are His chosen people, His holy and beloved children. That doesn’t mean we are perfect or that we have to present ourselves in a way that tries to convince anyone else we are perfect. It simply means that we are empowered and enabled by God to live in a way that is different than the world because of who we are…God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. Without knowing who we are, we would never be able to move out and having any influence in the world around us.
The commission.“…compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience,” God is sending us out into our world as ambassadors of peace. Our commission is to bring light into a dark world through compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Basically, to live like Jesus. This doesn’t mean that we live as doormats or wallflowers and let the world happen around us all the while quietly humming Kumbaya in the corner. Jesus didn’t live a life of ambiguity or indifference, He operated through compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience all the while changing the world. He had moments where He spoke against the wrongs of the world. He even flipped over a few tables! He had moments where He spoke the truth very plainly and directly. He also had moments where He let a woman cry on His feet. Jesus, fully operating in these amazing traits being called out in the verse, had a wide range of emotion and reaction with one central message: love.
If you watch the news for 5 minutes, read 2 posts on Facebook or read the newspaper, you will find yourself getting upset. The world is in a weird place of division right now and it seems more pervasive than at any other time in history. We have people raging against each other and spewing violence in both language and action at every turn and it feels like the only way to be heard is to join in. God is inviting us to create change through remembering who we are in Him and then moving out in love showing compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. This means having our emotions under control and in some instances, not responding in the moment. It means checking our feelings of offense before reacting to our emotions. It means seeking the best in the other person over wanting to voice our opinion. In a nutshell, living like Jesus.