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.
This chapter of Colossians starts out by talking about living a new life, once you are a Christian. I think that the first 17 verses are excellent guidelines for living any life–the balance of the chapter, not so much. Once it gets into the whole “submit” verb, I get a little queasy.
Paul was telling the Colossians how they needed to behave once they became Christians so that they would see how they needed to show their faith to others. Wow, that was an ugly, run on sentence. Sorry.
The point is, I like (and need) a manual for life. What is God telling me? How should I behave. Oh, I know the 10 Commandments and “turn the other cheek” and “love one another,” but I mean, tell me what it looks like. What does it look like to be a Christian?
Well, Paul was nice enough to tell us. Sometimes, though, the Bible can appear a little scary and judgmental. Let’s see how these rules look when stripped of their “Bible-ness.” Here is my Message version of Colossians 3:
Since you are new here, let me tell you a few things about this place. Don’t worry about things from your old house, just focus on living here. We have big plans and really won’t be here long. Our real home is yet to come. And when Christ reveals himself to the world, everyone will see His glory.
- Forget about all the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.
- Don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.
- Don’t be greedy, idolizing things in this world. They won’t last in the long run and you’ll find there are consequences of caring about such trivial things.
- Get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
- Don’t lie to each other.
- It doesn’t matter who you were before: Jew, Gentile, circumcised, uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. All that matters is that Christ lives in all of us.
- Show mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience as much as you can.
- Give everyone a break– forgive anyone who offends you.
- Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
- Let the peace that comes from Christ rule your heart. As members of this place, you are called to live in peace.
- Be thankful.
- Let Christ’s message fill your lives.
- Teach and counsel each other with wisdom.
- Sing with thankful hearts.
- Represent Jesus in whatever you do or say.
- Give thanks through him to God.
So….sounds easy enough. I’m kind. I don’t think I’m greedy. I’m pretty good at not engaging in lust and such (I’m a mom, for goodness sakes, I’m too tire to engage in lust). And I don’t lie.
But then we get to giving others a break and forgiving those who offend you. Yeah, about that. And the representing Jesus in whatever I do or say–that might need some work. It’s the stupid people who make me nuts. It really isn’t my fault. Really. You don’t understand.
Well, I guess Jesus does. He understands. He had to deal with a lot of stupid people. And he didn’t have snopes.com or factcheck.org to go and get his facts from. And he managed to show people the truth without being short with them.
I guess even though the rules are pretty clear, they aren’t always easy to follow. But knowing where I fall short shows me where I need work.
So, I will be thankful, sing with a thankful heart, and give thanks to God.