Chapter Three of Colossians is broken down into two headings in the New Living Translation: Living the New Life and Instructions for Christian Households.
You can read it all here, then please come back and join me as we unearth some of its treasures together.
Let’s start with the first four verses.
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
I think we all could use the reminder to set our sights on the realities of heaven these days. Our current realities are pretty despairing. There’s so much anger, bitterness, and fear surrounding the pandemic. But our call is to look up. Fix our gaze on the realities of heaven.
That’s where our real life is – hidden in Christ with God.
Wait, what? Isn’t our real life what we can see and touch and feel?
How do we remove ourselves from our physical reality enough to be full present and alive in the realities of heaven?
That seems nearly impossible.
We have jobs to toil through, mouths to feed, homes to tend to.
We have pains, strains, and sickness.
We have heartbreak, loneliness, and heaviness.
Praise God that He not only points us to an abundant, hope-filled, inspired life, but also shows us the way to get there!
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. – Colossians 3:10 NLT
Living this new life is a daily putting on, like getting dressed in the morning. It’s active and intentional. Yes, our physical reality still remains present, but when we put on our new nature (read about the good news glasses here), fixing our perspective, we become renewed as we understand our Creator, learn to trust Him in all circumstances, and ultimately become more and more like Him.
Here are the clear and concise instructions for living. If we think of them as rules, we tend to also think of the punishment that comes from breaking rules. But, truly knowing our Creator means knowing how much He loves us.
Knowing God sent Jesus as an atonement for our sin, we are now saved by grace. These actions flow from a grateful heart seeking to know the Lover of their souls more. They come from a place of trust, that these directions are for our good. They’re to see us thrive, fully present in the realities of heaven.
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.
Clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
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.
Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Let’s take a minute and reflect on these instructions for living the new life. Do we believe they are worth it? Do we believe they will truly transform us?
Faith is the first step. Believing without seeing is where the growth comes.
The second step is to walk it out. Psalm 34:8 tells us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Taste, as in sample it…walk it out and see. He is good. He is faithful. You will be renewed, free, living abundantly within the realities of heaven.
The final verses in chapter three, instructions for Christian households, have carried much misconception and many arguments in the Church. I don’t know how much I really want to unearth some of that nitty gritty talk that’s caused much dissention, distrust, and bitterness.
My only wisdom here is this: in Christian households, husbands and wives need to be walking out the first seventeen verses we just dug through together. If both parties are actively living the new life, then grace, submission, love, respect, and humility will fall into place.
Why? Because they are fruits of the Spirit, and will therefore be present where the Spirit of the Lord is.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is not, well, we all know that’s where things get messy. Jesus is our only hope, and our only victory in all things.
Bless you, Dear Friends, as you continue to day-by-day and moment-by-moment live the new life.
May the gospel message of grace through Christ Jesus fill your hearts and lives and nourish your very souls!