A Life of Love

This week, we’re going to limit our reading to two verses from Sunday’s passage. As you read them, allow them to also read you. Excerpts are taken from: The Deeper Journey (Robert Mulholland) and Hidden in Christ (James Bryan Smith).

Monday – Colossians 3.12. Behavior flows from identity. Before Paul instructs us on what to put on, he affirms who we are. God’s chosen. Our chosenness has nothing to do with us or our performance, and everything to do with who God is. Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own…. (Ephesians 1:4). “We were chosen to be in the heart of God long before we ever existed in this life.” (R Mulholland) Steep in that truth for a few moments. Pray that your sacred worth would become clearer to you than before. Today, live out of that truth.

Tuesday – Colossians 3.12. Holy. As with being chosen, this is not about being holy in terms of behavior, though that will follow. Paul is still addressing our identity. Holy is about what is sacred and special. We are holy because God has chosen us and has infused his sacred self into us – Imago Dei – for a life in loving union with him. Out of such a union comes “our wholeness, our maturity, our fullness, that for which we were created.” (R Mulholland) Our prayer: Loving Father, may all that is holy in you flow into me. And may I live in such a way that honors my true identity in you.

Wednesday – Colossians 3.12. Dearly loved. “Being loved is no more our doing than being God’s chosen ones.” (R Mulholland) “If we fully understood we are truly loved by God as we are, our souls would be whole. We are taught from an early age that love must be merited by our behavior, and we project this onto God.” (JB Smith) The cross shouts that we are loved – as we are, not as we should be. In verse 12, Paul is proclaiming: “God picked us. He made us holy by infusing his sacred self into us. We are his beloved. This is our truest identity.” (JB Smith) Sit quietly and ask the Holy Spirit over and over to, Show me the Father’s love for me. Remain quiet and wait. Listen all the day.

Thursday – Colossians 3.12. Now, from our deep connection with our Father and awareness of who we are in him, we are enabled to live out the character of Christ in the world. Compassion: immersion in the pain of another’s brokenness. It’s costly – in time, energy, and resources. Kindness: seeing others as persons of value and worth. Humility: never pretends. Never presumes. Never pushes. Gentleness: a radical abandonment to God that frees us from our defensive, protective, self-promoting tendencies. Patience: attacks our need to advance our own agenda. Look over this list. Ask the Holy Spirit to gently show you the area you are ready to grow into. Listen as he speaks to you.

Friday – Colossians 3.13. In verse 13, Paul begins to show us how we put on the virtues. First, we Bear with each other. Perhaps, the best understanding of bearing with each other is letting you be who you are. Not who I think you should be or wish you would be for my benefit. “We can never be one in whom God is present for others unless we come to them as they are.” (R Mulholland) Today, pick one person whose faults or flaws or problems have been difficult for you to bear. Begin praying for them. See them as an opportunity to demonstrate compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Saturday – Colossians 3:13. Forgive. Is there anything harder? Yet, we cannot say we accept God’s forgiveness but refuse to forgive others. If we truly know that we have been completely forgiven, then we can more easily forgive those who have hurt us. It may take time and may involve the help of another. When we find ourselves struggling to forgive, we should dwell on the fundamental reality that we ourselves need forgiveness. We receive forgiveness in greater measure than we will ever have to give it. Father, help me to be so aware of the forgiveness I’ve received and, out of that, live into forgiveness of others.