Hello, and welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast. Hope you’re having a good week so far.
At the start of the week, we were reminded that we are to look to Jesus. We are to fix our eyes on him and remember that he has for us a new life, a changed life. On Tuesday, we considered how through faith in Jesus, we die to our old self and put on the new. Through the power of his Spirit at work within us, we are free to live the new life Jesus calls us to.
Yesterday’s passage was examples of the old self that we, as believers, are to throw off, to do away with. Today’s passage, which you can hear in full at the end of the podcast, gives us this wonderful description of what the new life in Christ looks like. Using that analogy of clothing we read about yesterday, Paul writes that the Colossians are to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. That they are to be people who are quick to forgive. People who are overflowing with thanksgiving (see last Wednesday’s podcast for a great thought from Mick on that aspect). To be people who live at peace with each other. People who take to heart the words we read written in the Bible and live them out. People who spur one another on.
What an incredible community we read about here! This is what the church, the people of God, should live like.
In Verse 15 of today’s passage we read this: ‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’.
Above all else, Paul is saying to the Colossians, you’re called to love each other. That new self you put on, all of those hallmarks of the new life in Christ that we see listed in today’s passage, it’s all wrapped up in this one word: love. As we are made in alive in Christ, we discover what it is to love others. A love that we are to model within our own community and extend to those beyond that.
As part of my role as Youth Church leader here at STC, I regularly go into our local secondary schools and offer support. One school I go into has perhaps the best waiting area ever! It’s not that it’s super comfy or spacious. Or that the reception team are really polite and efficient (although they absolutely are!). It’s a sign that they display just inside the front door for everyone to see. Written on it are Jesus’s words to his followers which we read in John’s Gospel: ‘By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another ’(John 13:35). What a great message to see in a school! What a wonderful thing to want to your students and staff to be known for!
By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. This is the heart of today’s passage. Indeed, it’s at the very core of what it means to be a disciple. What it means to live this new life we are called to. It’s a life of love.
In Matthew 26, when asked which is the greatest commandment in the law. Jesus replied: ‘Love God and Love your neighbour.’ All of the law and the Prophets, Jesus said, it’s all summarised as this – Loving God and Loving Others. That’s what it means to be a disciple. To live the Jesus life. As I’ve heard it said before, the Jesus life is so simple to explain but so hard to put into practise.
Love God. Love Others. It’s what we, as Paul writes in today’s passage, as God’s chosen people, are called to. We are called to a life of love.
What is a life of love all about? I’ve heard love described in lots of different ways. Each of those virtues we see listed here in today’s passage, they are all descriptions of what it means to love others. But the best I’ve heard it put is this…to love is to give others your best.
The Bible tells us that we love because God first loved us. God gives us his best! John 3:16 is a verse we’re focusing on here at STC during Lent. For God so loved the world that He gave his only one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God gave this world his best; he gave his one and only son up to death on a cross so that we might have the very best: eternal life – an everlasting relationship with God.
The new life Jesus calls us to live – is a life of love. A life of loving God and loving others. A life of giving God our best and giving others our best.
Here’s a question for us today: Are we giving others our best? I’m a big fan of rock band The Foo Fighters. When I was a teenager they released a song called ‘Best of You’. There’s a line in it that goes, ‘Is someone getting the best, the best, the best of you.’ In the song it has a different connotation but I had it playing round in my head as I wrote my thoughts down for this podcast.
Is someone getting the best of you today? Are we giving people that? Because as we looked at yesterday, and as I was reminded again when I saw that sign in the local secondary school – that’s what marks us out as disciples. That’s what our church communities should be. Communities that are constantly giving those around them their best.
As we hear and read these descriptions of what love is today, let’s ask the question…who can we give our best to today?
God, we thank you that you first loved us so that we can learn what it is to love others. Help us this day Lord to be your disciples. To follow your example and to give those around us our very best. Amen.
READING: COLOSSIANS 3:12-17
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.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.