With each decision, with each word, with each action – I choose either to clothe myself in the righteousness of Christ who lives in me, or for my old, sinful nature to show through to others. We are either shining with His grace, honoring and glorifying His name, or we are naked, fruitless, dark, and dead in our unfaithfulness. Let’s put on our white robes.
Colossians 3:12-17 NLT
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Do we know this is true?
God chose us.
We are to be Holy.
He loves us.
As a result of knowing and believing and trusting in those core beliefs that define our restored and renewed relationship with God, we are to restore and renew others by:
Being compassionate and merciful towards others – realizing that we do not deserve God’s mercy ourselves, but he shows us His mercy as an example of how we should live our lives towards others.
Being kind to others – realizing that Christ died on the cross for everyone, even knowing that not everyone will accept His gift of salvation. This is the example of kindness that He demonstrates to us, that kindness is sacrificial love with no expectation that we will receive it back in return.
Being humble before others – realizing that Christ lowered Himself from His reign on high to live amongst the world and to serve and teach us. This is the example of honoring and serving others with no grand thoughts of ourselves, but making others important and valued in our lives by demonstrating a life of honor and service to others.
Being gentle with others – realizing that Christ demonstrated restraint and self control, even when under direct threat, persecution, and suffering inflicted by others. This is the example that He gave us of not responding to evil with evil, but responding to evils aimed at us with love offered in return.
Being patient with others – realizing the patience that Christ demonstrates towards us daily as we fall short of His example of a perfect life lived honoring God and others. This is the example that He gave us of not becoming wearied by others’ shortcomings and failures and trespasses and faults.
And how do we accomplish this? By making allowance for others’ faults, and forgiving them, just as we have been forgiven.
You see, it is by believing and understanding in the forgiveness extended to us, that we begin to understand and realize how we can BE forgiving towards others.
If we try to DO forgiveness, having no strong foundation to support us, we ate simply striving under the morality of “I should be good, I should forgive, because that is the right thing to do” which will fail us in those times where the rubber meets the road and we are faced with difficult choices between self or serving others and honoring God.
By remembering Christ, we are acknowledging the very fuel, the very spirit, the very change inside us, that is the faith that enables us and empowers us to BE a servant towards others so that we are honoring God. He forgives us who are unwittingly on our own of redemption, so we must forgive others. We MUST forgive others. It is not a maybe, it is not a sometimes, it is the core requirement that demonstrates our understanding of this Grace that is extended to us.
We are to Love Others, because this is what binds us together as a single body of Christ. If we are trying to do this on our own, if we are seeing others as our enemies, if we are isolated and alone – we must ask ourselves if we really know love. Because if we know love, it does not create separation and isolation or judgement and condemnation towards others, but it builds unity and understanding and common ground as sinners saved by grace who are becoming the righteousness of God.
And this unity is how we know peace with others and towards others. If we are BEing Christ followers, and servants to others, and honoring God – then what type of man will choose to be our enemy when we are their friend?
And we are thankful for being chosen, for having received this gift of grace, and it is because of this grattitude that we understand that it is not something that we have done or earned or achieved, so there is no room for pride or boasting when it comes to our salvation – but only humble grattitude for a gift received that is undeserved.
This message of Christ, this truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this Good News of a redeemed and renewed life – it is valuable and it will fill our lives with changed attitudes and motivations on the inside – which result in a change in our outward, visible actions and words as well. Because we recognize its value and importance, we want to share with others, to teach and guide others to this precious gift that is available to all.
We also want to voice our grattitude to God for such a wonderful gift, so we lift our praises and thanks to God, in our prayers, in our studying and meditating upon the scriptures, in our gathering together in His name, in our singing praises to His name – but most importantly in a life lived honoring and glorifying the name of God.
Know this is true –
God chose us.
We are to be Holy.
He loves us.
Live, demonstrating that it is true.
Lord, give us the strength to do so.