Here are the first three parts of this study of Colossians 3. Catch up by clicking on each part:
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 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.
Before I start, I have to apologize for the long break between posts. I wrote this whole blog several weeks ago, but then WordPress decided to delete the whole post even though I had been saving it. I lost a 1,000 word post and so I was grumpy and couldn’t bring myself to rewrite it. But now I am back and ready to go. A lot has transpired in my life since my last post, but I will save that for the next post. In this post we are wrapping up Colossians 3 with verses 15-17.
Let us begin with verse 15. Paul has two sentences in this first verse. Peace is the first thing that he chooses to mention. But not peace in our hearts about life and circumstance, but rather peace with each other as a body. If you remember I believe this chapter is truly about doing life with others and doing life well with others. Paul believes that as a Body united in Christ we have access to a storehouse of peace that will not just allow us to live with one another, but to grow together.
And as the next sentence implies, one of the first steps to living in peace is to live with a heart full of gratitude. This is something we each have a choice in. You have the choice every morning whether or not to be thankful for everything good in your life. YOU have that choice. No matter how dimly lit the world seems to you, You choose whether or not to be thankful for creation and your breath, your ability to stand up and walk around. And frankly, thanksgiving, verbal thanksgiving is seriously lacking in our Body of believers today. Start being thankful and make sure everyone knows and hears it.
And this thanksgiving, when we are talking about intentional Christian community extends into your gratitude to God for those you are in relationship with. When is the last time you took a moment just to praise God for the people in your life: your spouse, children, friends, and strangers. And I am not just talking about thanking God for the good these people have brought into your life. But I mean thanking God for the humanity in these people, that make them in need of a Savior. Their faults, their challenges, their short comings, their strengths, their growth, their love, their light. These are all things we need to be coming before God in thanksgiving for. But as a side note we will never be able to thank God for people unless we truly are intentional and get to KNOW these people.
Good, now on to verse 16. This is one of my absolute favorite parts of this chapter.
Whatever you think you know about community, if that knowledge does not include the fact that we ARE responsible to and for one another, then you have to reevaluate your understanding. That “You do you, I will do me” attitude should NOT exist in Christian community. No that does not mean we have to parent each other. But when a Brother or Sister is doing or has done something that is obviously not glorifying to God we have a responsibility to each other. If you do not want to have that responsibility or on the flip side you do not want to be kept accountable. Find a new Body to be a part of. No wiggle room here, friends.
So before I continue I want to look at the word, ADMONISH. The dictionary has two definitions and I think Paul meant both:
-to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner
-to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to
Two parts of admonishing each other with wisdom from God are CORRECTING and ENCOURAGING. Like I said. We are responsible to one another and if we are truly living in the movement of the Spirit, these steps cannot be ignored or overlooked. I really cannot hammer this one in enough.
If a brother or sister is struggling, ENCOURAGE them, they should never feel alone. If a brother or sister is isolating themselves from the gospel and the Body, CORRECT them. Gently of course and in love. But do not just sit back and watch them distort the Gospel and their own worth.
Furthermore, surround yourself with like-minded believers who will not just Encourage and Correct you out of duty, but out of love and thankfulness!
Which bring us to the last verse. And I will let it speak for itself here:
17 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.
If you want to be a part of the true Body of Christ that looks like all of these things. A radically different community of love and hope that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Then please, start acting and living like that Church. Admonish away.
Intentionality and selflessness are always going to be key.
Until the next time.