This is post #2 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3: 12-14 (NIV)
As you can see from today’s text, the first of our Eight Holy Garments, is the word compassion.
But, before we begin looking at the depth of this unique word, allow me today to ponder a bit deeper at Paul’s introductory phrase…
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with…
You see, it’s really important for all of us, before we begin pulling garments and accessories out of the closet, to put into context what Paul is saying here.
First and foremost, you must know this:
YOU and I are one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved!
Now, that’s really amazing news, isn’t it?
Which begs the question.
What exactly does it mean that YOU and I are one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved?
Well, first of all, allow me to remind you what it doesn’t mean.
This is really important…so don’t miss this.
Being one of God’s chosen people doesn’t mean that we are better than anyone else on the planet, nor does it mean that God loves us more than He loves others around us.
Maybe I should repeat that?
Being one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, doesn’t mean that you are better than anyone else on the planet, nor does it mean that God loves you more than He loves others around you.
In truth, every human being on the planet, from the beginning of time until Christ’s return, is made in God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1) and all are deeply loved by God. Yes, the Scriptures tell the story of Israel and how Abraham and his Hebrew children were chosen by God to bring forth God’s Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. But, as we turn the page over from what we now call The Old Testament to the New, we find that this same Savior has come, not just for the Jew, but for the redemption of the entire human race! Every tribe, every tongue, every woman, man, and child on the planet can now know with great certainty that they are made in the image and likeness of God, are deeply loved by God, their Creator, and that they too, can be adopted back into God’s great big family, reconciled, by the work of God’s Son, so that they can be called…one of God’s chosen people.
So, rather than using this text as a point of comparison, where you and I, as followers of Christ, have special garments that others don’t, here’s the point that Paul is trying to say here:
YOU, my friend, as one of God’s chosen people, one who has now decided to respond to God’s great love, as expressed through Jesus of Nazareth…
YOU are holy, which means set apart for special purposes, and YOU are dearly loved, which means God is literally loving “the hell” right out of you!
Excuse my French here, but here is the truth.
As followers of Christ, the hell that is in us, the darkness of self-centeredness, self-consumption, self-aggrandizing, etc., etc., is now being pulled out of us, making you and me into the truest and best-est human beings that God first envisioned all of us to be.
For those who choose to follow Christ, we are dearly loved human beings, rescued from darkness, death, and despair; being restored back into the image and likeness of God, and are now “first born” children on assignment with Jesus in His mission to save the world from itself.
So, when Paul writes to his good friends in Colossae, encouraging them to slip into these holy garments, he’s not trying to dress up a strong army of conceited, self-centered, judgmental “chosen” people, but is reminding regular, every-day, sinful human beings that Jesus of Nazareth is doing an amazing work on our behalf. He’s pulling us out of our sinful and selfish condition, bringing us into a whole new world where our truest self can be restored, and now, we are being invited to be on mission with Jesus, where we dress ourselves in Kingdom garments, for the greater glory of God!
Now, my dear friends, in celebration of this new life in Christ, and because of the mission at hand, let’s open up the wardrobe and take a peek inside.
My Prayer: Jesus, thank You for all Your life, death, and resurrection has accomplished on my behalf. Because of You, I can now live in freedom as God first intended all of us to live. Now, because of Your work on the Cross, I can now live out this life (and the life to come!) as one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. May the manner by which I live out this new life of freedom reflect the Good News message which invites others to taste of that same life as well. For Your name’s sake and for Your glory. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: How am I responding to the fact that, in Christ, I am one of God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved? Am I flaunting this truth, looking down upon others, judging them as less than who I am? Or, am I responding in humility, working alongside Jesus of Nazareth, extending this Good News invitation, in love and grace, to all who are around me?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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