During this week, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages to prepare our hearts for the coming New Year.
Yesterday, we explored the first portion of today’s passage and applied it to our lives. We looked at the issues of putting off and putting to death our sin, and more importantly the motivation of Jesus’ finished work of grace. Our efforts never earn us forgiveness, but are the response of a grateful heart for the work God has done for us. Today we are going to talk about the opposite—putting on.
- What are the things you put on each day? Make a list. It might be longer than you think!
READ THE WORD: COLOSSIANS 3:1-17 (ESV)
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
Having talked about the things we need to put off and put to death (vss. 5-11), Paul made a list of the things we need to put on in our relationship with Jesus (vss. 12-17). But before he mentioned even one character trait, he AGAIN told us why—he clarified our motivation. Put on the character of God because you are already chosen, already holy, and already beloved (vs. 12).
Our efforts don’t earn us anything. They are simply the natural response of a heart made glad by the unchanging mercy made available to us in the person and work of Christ. And when someone notices that we might be kind, patient, or forgiving, we will be quick to take no credit, but instead will marvel that God has made us a little more like Jesus today than we were yesterday. Our prayer will be that we will be more like him tomorrow than we are today.
For Reflection and Prayer:
- Read through the list of things Paul invites us to put on. Pick just one item from Paul’s list that jumps out at you as a need for growth in your life.
- What would it look like practically to “put on” this character trait in the New Year?
- What help do you need from your family, your friends, or your church?
- What is the one step you will take today toward change in your life?
- Thank God that, by his work in Christ, he has already chosen, loved, and forgiven you.
- Ask God for the transforming power of the Spirit to be powerfully at work in your life.
- As this passage commands, give thanks. Make a list of all the things for which you have to be thankful.