We revert so easily! One day without reading His Word: we notice. 2 days: our family notices. 3 days: the world notices! In fact, we begin to act just like the world again.
27 Stop listening to instruction, my child, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
As we continue in Colossians 3, we come to the part where we must engage with the LORD. Interaction with the Spirit is how we navigate this next passage.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The first thing we must notice here is that we are considered holy by God. Already! Our position in Him makes us thus. Also, there is a practical holiness, an interactive conversation that takes place every day that works our holiness from the inside out so that others can see it. “So then, my dear ones…continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] [from the inside out] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing (desire) and the ability (power) to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure” Philippians 2:12 AMP. You will notice that four of the five attributes are fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We can easily add “compassion” to that list.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
The next thing that we learn is that not everyone has a handle on these attributes–including ourselves! So, we must bear with patience, showering compassion on them while being kind and tenderhearted toward them in all humility and gentleness. We must remember that we have been forgiven much, so we CAN forgive the little that others do to us (in comparison to Christ’s forgiveness). We must remember Jesus’ parable of the Unmerciful (Unforgiving) Servant who was forgiven a great debt, but would not forgive his fellow servant a small debt. The Master was NOT happy with him (Matthew 18:21-35).
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
His love is what saved us; it drives us, and it sustains us. It binds us together with other Christians in a way that we cannot understand, but we CAN enjoy. It is the reason that we get together. He promises that He will be with us in a unique and special way when we do, “For where two or three [or more] gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20. There is a special relationship and fellowship that goes on between two or three…but we will save that conversation for another time. Suffice it to know that His love binds all of the attributes (the fruit of the Spirit) together in perfect unity, which takes us a LONG way toward practical godliness (remember that we are already godly in our position in Christ).
Conclusion: To clothe ourselves with the fruit of the Spirit means that we have a connection to the Spirit and a fellowship with the Spirit that calls us into fellowship with other Christians. This fellowship is guided by Him in a unique way that showcases the love of God to the world. “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Jesus said, “In this way the world will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35. Our job is to be intentional about putting on those attributes and to be like Christ even as we fellowship with Him.
Tomorrow, we will discuss verses 15-17, which deal with peace, thankfulness, and worship.
Abba, I willingly and intentionally put on Your attributes of godliness: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, compassion, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9). May I study Your word all the more diligently to learn how to apply these attributes and to become more and more like You (practically speaking). Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, speak that my soul may hear. I look forward to our running conversation today. Amen.