“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” (Colossians 3:14-15a, ESV)
As we enter a New Year, many people in the west like to make resolutions, promises to change certain detrimental aspects of their lives, to adopt healthier lifestyles. Paul’s words of wisdom encourage we who are believers to make similar resolutions about our lifestyles in light of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul urges us to grow into the image of Christ, to work toward spiritual maturity. This does not involve learning spiritual secrets or following the law or adopting an austere lifestyle. The way we grow in Christ is by trusting in Him, by studying his word, praying and by living, thinking and acting with love and compassion toward all people. The reason: when we became Christians in Baptism, we die to the our self and became new creatures in Christ. This death affects every aspect of our lives, our passions, plans, dreams and desires. Dying to self takes time and the disciplined work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish as He motivates and strengthens us daily to set aside the ways of the world, the desires of the flesh and put on the life of Christ.
In Christ we are united not merely to Him but to all other believers as well. Men and women, slave and free, black, white, yellow and brown we are all one in Christ so we should treat everyone with love. We are to be tender-hearted and kind toward all people. We are to forgive always even as we have been forgiven. We are never to seek our own agenda. This may disturb us because it will mean we will usually have to quietly accept abuse, scorn and reproach from our fellow human beings when we are really tempted to justify and defend ourselves to prove others wrong. The good Christian realizes however that his sense of worth and identity come from Christ not other men.