Colossians 3 deals with our behavior towards others to a great extent. We know that the “Golden Rule” says, “do unto others and you would have them do to you.” The “Platinum Rule” is better saying, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Get the difference? One is from our perspective and the other is from someone else’s point of view or need. That is hard to do because humans are selfish. If you are saying that you are not, take an extra look in the mirror this morning. Jesus said in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That is just not part of human nature. Jesus humbled himself taking the very nature of a servant. I am thankful that He also gave us lots of help as to what to do to change.
In Colossians 3 Paul is talking about the old selves that are full of earthly nature and pleasures of immorality and impurities of lust, anger, greed, slander and filthy language just for starters. He tells us that we must get rid of these things and put on the new self, “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…Christ in all.” (Colossians 3:10,11). We are made in God’s image and likeness, but are fallen, broken. So we must change. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another. 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). This is a conscious act of taking off and putting on the new, a changed self. This is a renewed person. But I still need a little help in how to do this.
Paul tells us “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 word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 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” (Colossians 3:15-17). Herein lie several clear calls:
1. Let the peace of Christ rule, not manmade peace
2. Be thankful
3. Let the word of Christ, the Bible dwell richly or firmly and continually in your heart.
4. Teach these words and sing these words from Psalms and elsewhere.
5. Speak and do these things in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
6. Giving thanks to God the Father through Jesus.
Notice that giving thanks is throughout the admonition. God occupies or is in the praises of His people. As we thank and praise Him He draws nearer to our hearts giving us the ability to do what Paul is saying. Christ in us is the hope of glory and peace.
Combining these teachings I hear God saying that giving thanks and being a servant are keys to godly living. Living with Christ in you renews or makes us new. The old is put aside and replaced with forgiveness and joyful living. Start today!