Let Christ Be Your LifeThe reality for believers is that kindness is key to valuing and caring for others, modeling Jesus’s ways and drawing others near to Him.
When I was a young teenager, I was in a Bible study that worked through the book of Colossians. These practical words for believers first ignited my desire to be serious about my faith; they provide a necessary reminder of what it means to “let Christ be my life.”
Paul wrote to the Colossians from a prison in Rome, having never actually visited the church. It had been infiltrated by various other beliefs and religions and Christians were even turning away from Christ altogether. Paul’s letter arrives to remind the people that Jesus is sufficient and He provides everything we need. No other books, traditions, feasts or deities needed. Christ alone saves.
Paul builds this case throughout the letter, beginning in chapter one with who Christ is and what He has done for the Colossians, following it up with how ridiculous and empty the world’s teachings are in comparison in chapter two. We land in chapter three with Paul beginning to give practical applications to the believers (and us!), about what Jesus’s life, death and resurrection should mean to them and how they should live. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12, NIV). Instead of saying “do this” or “act this way,” he says to clothe yourselves with these things. Paul gives practical advice about what to put on in place of those other things:
Compassion: There is a certain tenderness and mercy attached to compassion. As we face a world that is broken, by clothing ourselves with compassion, we look for and attend to those who are in need in our families, communities and world.
Kindness: There’s an old saying that goes something like “nice guys (or girls) finish last,” as if being kind implies a weakness. But the reality for believers is that kindness is key to valuing and caring for others, modeling Jesus’s ways and drawing others near to Him.
Humility: If you’ve been following Jesus for long, humility is a familiar virtue. The Biblical definition is “the fear of the Lord,” meaning that to be humble, you recognize the authority of God over your life. Rather than behaving like we have ultimate control, we humbly submit to God’s authority.
Gentleness: An overflow from humility, it affects our actions toward others. Pride will corrupt us to treat others with arrogance, manipulation and in a way that promotes our own motives. Humility breeds a gentleness toward others.
Patience: Waiting it out, playing the long game, being able to prolong satisfaction or await the desired result, but doing it graciously.
When my husband shops for clothes, he only thinks about singular items, but when I am shopping, I have an ensemble in mind. As followers of Jesus, I think we can be concerned with the “ensemble” of Christianity, but looking at the individual pieces, especially ones we are lacking, is helpful in cultivating these things Paul calls us to put on. Can we identify the pieces we might need to strengthen as we attempt to be faithful to how Jesus calls us to live?
Choose one of the traits from Colossians 3:12 to focus on this month. Put it on a note on your bathroom mirror, or at your desk, and look for ways to make it a part of your everyday “clothing.”
- May 1: Colossians 1:1-2
- May 2: Colossians 1:3-6
- May 3: Colossians 1:7-8
- May 4: Colossians 1:9
- May 5: Colossians 1:10-14
- May 6: Colossians 1:15-17
- May 7: Colossians 1:18-20
- May 8: Colossians 1:21-23
- May 9: Colossians 1:24-27
- May 10: Colossians 1:28-29
- May 11: Colossians 2:1-3
- May 12: Colossians 2:4-5
- May 13: Colossians 2:6-8
- May 14: Colossians 2:9-12
- May 15: Colossians 2:13-15
- May 16: Colossians 2:16-19
- May 17: Colossians 2:20-23
- May 18: Colossians 3:1-4
- May 19: Colossians 3:5-11
- May 20: Colossians 3:12
- May 21: Colossians 3:13
- May 22: Colossians 3:14
- May 23: Colossians 3:15-17
- May 24: Colossians 3:18-21
- May 25: Colossians 3:22-25; 4:1
- May 26: Colossians 4:2-4
- May 27: Colossians 4:5-6
- May 28: Colossians 4:7-9
- May 29: Colossians 4:10-11
- May 30: Colossians 4:12-15
- May 31: Colossians 4:16-18
God, let Christ be my life. Help me to clothe myself in the ways of Jesus, and put off anything that would hold me back from You. When I mess up, remind me of Your grace, and give me the strength to try again. Amen.
Inhale: Your ways are perfect. Exhale: Clothe me with Christ.
Flower Illustration by Lan Truong & Verse Illustration by Débora Islas