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Janet's Corner

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A Heart Ruled by Peace

Colossians 3:12-17

 

 

Our life is framed with the confession of our faith that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”  We fill that picture frame with the reality of our life. Who we are and whom we represent through our lives, revolves around our position as a believer. Our position in Christ gives us not only the mindset but the empowerment for victory. Because we are alive in Christ, we seek things above. Because we died with Christ, we put off that which belongs to the old self or old nature. Because we are new creations, we put on those things which represent our new nature. Renewal is a process – a life long process - a process that happens through the renewing of our mind and the conforming of our very being to the image of our creator through God’s Word and the power of the Spirit of God who is alive within us!!

So Paul says have a heart set of seeking things above and putting off the old and putting on the new – that which is appropriate for your new position – you are a new creation!

Read Colossians 3:12-17

Paul continues with a call to us to remember who we are in Christ – to expand our knowledge – our memory -  of who we are from God’s perspective.

We are chosen: II Timothy 2:19 “God knows who are His.” What a comforting thought to us as believers. This choosing is not dependent on our works, but God’s grace and love. Deuteronomy 7: 6-8 says the nation of Israel were his people not because of what they did, but because God loved them. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. 7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

It is the true for believers today – we are chosen because God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….and His faithfulness to His promise to send a Savior to us. I love how Weirsbe explains being chosen – Belonging to God is a “sacred secret” which we don’t try to explain to unbelievers.  He goes onto explain that because the Word says the Lord knows His own, we leave the working out of this truth with God. Our task is to share the good news with others.

So we are chosen and holy – someone set apart to God. In the OT God’s chosen people were set apart by circumcision, faithfulness, kosher laws and obedience to the law. As new creations, the body of Christ – believers – are set apart by the outward demonstration of who Jesus is through our lives.

So we are chosen, holy and dearly loved – loved with the love of God  - his agape love – unselfish, sacrificial, unconditional.

So because we are chosen, holy and loved, put on the new clothes that represent the new woman! The picture of who you are is going to change by the renewing of God in you!

What are the distinguishing marks of a child of God? We’ll look at each of these briefly – if God captures your attention with one of these, take the time this week to examine your life in the light of scripture.

Your new clothes include:

A heart of compassion: a deep sensitivity to the needs and sorrows of others. Something stirs within you and “your heart goes out” toward someone and you take action.

Kindness: graciousness – the grace toward others that permeates the whole nature of someone mellowing anything that seems harsh. When my son was in school they had to do acts of kindness – teaching them to do things for others that served another by something  good and pleasant.

Humility: Where kindness is directed toward others, humility is and attitude directed concerning you! It’s thinking others are more important than you. Read Philippians 2:3-8  - supreme example of humility in Jesus – some or the phrases…consider others better than yourselves, look to the interests of others, Jesus made himself nothing – didn’t grasp onto something that he was…

How often do we hold onto our rightful position or idea or attitude? Paul says humility should identify our lives.

Gentleness: is power under control. It refers to a soothing wind -  a wind that could be a storm or a colt that has been broken in – one who could have broken loose. Some translations use “meekness.” It’s not a weakness, but a strength of character. Power under control.

Patience: Self-restraint before moving to action – long suffering. Being long tempered instead of short tempered.

Bear with each other: restraining your natural reaction toward odd and difficult people. Letting them be themselves without compromising in the area of sin.

Forgiving: The root word for forgiveness is the same for grace. We are to “grace each other.” It’s the giving and receiving of grace when you have a complaint against someone. Forbearance and forgiveness go together. It’s impossible to get along with other people without the presence of genuine forgiveness – based on how God forgave us.

And all of these are held together by love – God’s agape love – The word here is like an outer garment or a girdle that holds things in place. These characteristics do not just refer to an individual person, but the body of Christ. We are bound together with the agape love of God which produces unity.

Paul then states two things we are to allow (let) happen through the power of the Holy Spirit

1.     Let the peace of God rule or be the umpire in your hearts – not just one person – but the body of Christ – because that’s what we were called to – peace that brings unity. When we lose the peace of God on an issue or circumstance or decision in our lives, we can go off in a direction that is not the will of God. We can turn to the world or the flesh to compensate for the lack of peace.

And as he peace of God rules, be thankful. Paul slips the attitude of thanksgiving in here again – probably the fourth time within this small letter, emphasizing its importance. If there is peace in your heart there will be praise on your lips.

2.     Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Love, peace and thanksgiving set us up for verses 16 and 17. Paul says we are all to teach and admonish one another with the word of Christ and the wisdom of Christ. We are to allow the word of Christ to be at home in us richly- as a palace filled with treasures. The truth of the gospel and our life lessons from it, are essential within our own personal lives as well as the body of Christ. It is not just Paul’s job, or you might say the pastor’s job, to teach and admonish believers. We are all responsible as we let the Word of God well in us richly!!

 

And overall – whatever we do in word or deed, we do all in the name of Jesus. When we operate by someone’s name it is not only as their representative, but also with their authority. We have the Spirit of God within us. As the scripture says in Malachi, it is not our strength or our abilities through which we accomplish anything, but by the power of the Spirit.

 

There’s our frame again. If Jesus is Lord of our lives, we will represent him by things that honor him – that show him that respect as Lord of our lives.. And as a result we will give our Father God thanks through Jesus.

 

Sounds like a nice picture to be painted throughout our life – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, love.

When the peace of God is the umpire and the word of God is filling our lives, these characteristics are more likely to be expressed through the picture of our lives. If you are struggling with one of these characteristics, often the peace of God is not ruling. I would suggest you get in the word – don’t avoid it – it’s what will lead you to peace. It’s full of treasures just waiting to fill your heart and mind and give you peace of heart and mind.

 

Let the peace of God rule. Let the Word of God be at home in you.

 

Let the peace of God be your umpire through the Word of God.