Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Above all else....

Colossians 3 is so amazing; so to the point, simple and clear.  Paul tells us clearly what to "take off" (what to repent of) and what to "put on" (what to fix our mind on and do).  He also tells us how and why to do it:

Colossians 3:17
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.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
Remember in Ephesians when we looked at the whole armor of God?  Paul said, "above all else" take up the shield of faith.  Paul uses that same term ("above all else") as he gives his list of things to "put on".  What do you think was that one thing he said "above all else" to put on?

Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 3 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

There are two things that Paul commands us to let rule in us, and dwell in us. If it happened automatically, why would Paul use the word "let". You can only conclude that you have a job to do, to "let" this happen, and part of that job is to fix your mind on the things above:

Colossians 3:15-16 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

If you fix your minds on the things above, and you let the peace of God rule in your heart, and you let the Word of Christ dwell in you; you will, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be able to easily put away the things God calls us to put away. You will be able to take off the things God commands you to take off:

Colossians 3:5-10 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

Then Paul wraps up by giving us the template for the perfect family and working dynamic. Before we look at that, I think it is worth making the point that we are not at liberty to pick and choose what we "like" and will "accept" from the Word of God. If the Word says, wives submit to your husbands, then do it. That being said, this is not a superiority thing. The man and woman are equal partners in a marriage, however, the hierarchy of authority goes to the husband. On the other hand, husbands are to love their wives. If a husband is loving his wife as he should, would he give his wife a dreadful life by taking advantage of her submissive position as his wife? Of course not, that is not loving, that is domineering.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
 
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.

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