I want to live a Colossians, Chapter 3 lifestyle. Will you join me in this in 2012?
Let’s look at the verses in the Book of Colossians where Paul wrote from prison to the people of Colossae in approximately A.D. 62. The purpose of this letter, carried by Tychicus, was to refute errors in the church of Colossae. Paul attempted to correct trends in worship there he had heard about. He wrote about the deity of Christ, the Christians’ completion in Him, family ties, duties, masters and servants. Paul himself explained his purpose in writing in Chapter 1, Verses 10 and 11: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” Sounds good and needful, doesn’t it, for this day and age?
In Verse 1 of Chapter 3, Paul teaches that if we are Christians, we are to seek those things that are above. In other words, we are to labor, look, and love the things of Heaven and not be so bothered about the things that surround us on earth. In Verse 2 of this powerful chapter, Paul says not only are we to look and see this things, but we are also to set our affection, or our hearts and mind, on the things that are above if we are to live a pleasing life here on earth.
Reading these verses in Colossians, I am reminded of John Milton, the highly regarded English poet (1608-1674) who wrote and spoke English, Italian, and the difficult Latin. In his highly acclaimed work, “Paradise Lost,” Milton wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven.” This blind and impoverished writer knew that whatever we feed into our hearts and mind will dictate our actions, so be very careful what you absorb into your being in 2012.
A lot is at stake, and there are penalties in disobedience, according to Verse 6. We are clearly given instructions in Verses 7, 8 and 9 about things we should put out of our lives. Paul wrote that Christians should get rid of anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of our mouth, and the telling of lies to each other. My, what would some folks have left to talk about if they obeyed this Scripture? Beginning in Verse 12 of Chapter 3, Paul tells us that it is good to put on mercy, kindness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering, forebearing (putting up with) one another, and forgiving each other. He teaches that as Christ has forgiven us, so must we forgive others if we are to be happy. That one act in itself could change our families, our churches, our places of employment, and our country. Verse 14 says that above all these things, put on charity, which is most often translated “love.”
Verses 15 and 16 urge us to allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts while we allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us. Verse 17 of Chapter 3 gives a big order — “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”Now, I do realize that I am Protestant in belief and teach in a Baptist church, and that some of our readers are from other faiths and walks of life. However, after studying this chapter in great detail, I am convinced that the principles for living will work for all of us if we truly want to live meaningful, helpful and happy lives in this New Year. I do, and I trust you do, too.
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. Having enjoyed more than four decades in ministry, Brenda shares her columns with our readers and works with churches and faith-based programs nationwide. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788.