57: Above All, Put On Love
Above All, Put On Love
Throughout this year, God has been steadily, and persistently, encouraging me to spend time with Him each day, before “doing”. He has been having me focus on “being still” and “waiting on Him”. I find myself reveling in these times, and when I am in His presence, experiencing these times of sweet communion, I don’t want to stop.
But my default setting is to make lists and do, so this has been an interesting and stretching transition period as I seek to break old habits. I know that I am nicer to be around when I do spend time with God regularly. I see the fruit in my relationships with my family and others when I take time to rest in him, seek him, and be still and know that He is God.
In my personal devotions time today I read Colossians chapters 1-3. (I use a bible reading schedule and was a little behind, but caught up this morning!) I always look forward to reading this epistle because of how Paul is helped by the Spirit of God to magnify Jesus, the Christ. In my old familiar Bible, I have highlighted and underlined numerous passages in these chapters over the years.
After being bathed in the wonderful truths of chapters 1 and 2, I came to the “How Tos” in chapter 3. While I enjoy marinating in the high and lofty concepts of the word, I am more comfortable with how to apply something concrete and specific. Chapter 3 was refreshing because it was something to do, and it was also related to waiting on God, which provides a nice balance.
Verses 1-4 reiterate who we are in Christ and verse 5 tells us to put to death what is earthy and part of our carnal nature. What caught my attention was the third paragraph, verses 12-16. If my count is correct, we are given 6 things to “put on” and 5 exhortations to obey. I shortened these verses to make them more succinct, (sorry Paul).
1 Compassionate hearts
6 Above all these, put on love
1 Bear with one another
2 Forgive each other
3 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
4 Be thankful
5 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
When I am speaking at conferences I am sometimes asked what I would do differently if I had the opportunity to go back and raise my family afresh. I don’t have to think about this query, I would be kinder. And I would be nicer to be with. This list beautifully describes the desire of my heart.
Many years ago when I would read a verse that began with “put on” such as put on the whole armor of God, I would visualize putting on an article of clothing. Today as I am reading these verses I am consciously choosing to put on a compassionate heart … kindness … humility … meekness … patience, and above all … love.
If your bible is open, you will notice that the end of chapter 3 has the family verses with instruction for wives, husbands, and children. I believe this order is deliberate and similar to the order in Ephesians. The best thing we can do as parents is to daily take time to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Only then will we be able to put on these Christ like characteristics and bear with one another, forgive each other, be thankful, and let the peace of God and the word of Christ rule our hearts.
40 Day Challenge
Kudos to those who are half way through the 40 day challenge. I have heard from some who are faithfully having family worship for the first time and your emails are so encouraging. May God grant you divine unction to follow through into October!