Paul challenges the Colossians to walk in the ways of God. Those who have been raised with Christ are to set their minds on eternal things (“things above”). They are to be different than those who do not walk in the ways of God (3:5-9). They have genuine compassion & kindness for others rather than negative stereotyping individuals. As God’s people they are marked with His character showing integrity and authenticity (3:12).
Several years ago there was a story showing a lack of genuineness. In 1979, distance runner Rosie Ruiz won the New York Marathon. She set a new record at the time of 2:31:56. A year later she did the same in the Boston Marathon. However, after further inspection it turned out that her time lacked validity as she was cheated in both marathons. In NY she was seen catching a bus for a portion of the race. In Boston, she only ran the last leg of the race appearing as if she ran the entirety. Unfortunately, Ruiz lacked the character and integrity that is often missing in our society.
God calls for his people to be real. Too many people are only Christian in name; in other words they are not genuine in their beliefs or behavior. True worship goes beyond mere assent to God, an event or a style of music. Worship is all of life and reflected in a person’s lifestyle. This can often be evidenced by a person’s character.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
Another way to walk in the way of God is to be like Him in the area of forgiveness. Paul commands the Colossians to forgive others as God has forgiven them. Rather than seeking revenge, holding grudges or becoming bitter we are to view relationships in view of eternity. In doing so we realize most things we get bent out of shape about do not ultimately matter. Even more, we should ask ourselves if we would want God to use the same standard of forgiveness that we use against others. God’s people are marked with grace.
“if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 5:23-24, 6:14-15
Above all things, God’s people are to be thankful for His faithfulness, His grace and work in your life. Whatever we do in word or deed should be marked with love and reflect our gratitude for Jesus. Jesus has done so much in giving himself – his sacrifice on the cross, his faithful presence that never abandons, his promise of eternal life – and Christians must look at life with an eternal hope.
-Choose one of the godly characteristics in 3:12 and commit to implementing it this week 3 times.
-How does your forgiveness relate to God forgiving you?
-Who in your life is waiting for you to forgive them?
-Thankfulness motivates devotion. Do you cherish time in God’s word? Time in corporate worship? Time with other believers?