10/11

October 11

Colossians 3

“But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!”

In context, Paul is saying that because we are hidden in Christ, we need to surrender to the new nature (spirit) and put an end to the sinful appetites of our soul and body. He mentions several wrongful desires we experience in this world, things we need to overcome. We all deal with them; however, the more we grow and strengthen spiritually, the less of a draw they have.

I pulled verse 8 out specifically because it is a vital truth for us to live our best life, a life of peace and joy. Our words are powerful tools, and they can either build up or tear down. As Christians, we are told to love one another; but we’re also told to love our enemies, as well as to pray for them and do good to them. Our enemy could be an opposing political party. Our opposition could sometimes be our spouse or a member of our family. It could be a co-worker, neighbor, or even a church member.

The second half of chapter 3 is on the love of God. When we choose to love that person that rubs us wrong, the person that wants to argue or criticize, the person who mistreated or used us, those “bad feelings” we have about them can be overcome. We see them with the eyes of God, and how He longs to develop them or show them the truth.

Now, if we were at war with another country, we fight back because we don’t want to be overtaken. In battle, being kind could make us appear weak. Real love, God’s love, is not a soft, pushover kind of love. God’s love has strength. The Bible is filled with stories of war.

If someone is bullying us, that bully may not understand the language of love, and standing up for ourselves is necessary. A soft answer or a polite request may not be effective with a bully.

Some may feel conflicted with love and standing up for ourselves. How can we keep from having bad feelings about the person who abuses the weak or the politician that is threatening to change our society? Are we supposed to be pushovers? Does it mean we can’t have a voice or stand up for what we believe in? Does it mean I have to agree with you?

I think of Paul and how he once worked against the church, putting Christ followers to death and locking them away in prison. This same man is the man who authored Colossians, the book we are reading today. Paul was not a softie. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, bit by a snake, threatened for his life, and continually had people at odds with Him, coming against the Gospel he preached. This same Paul is writing about love, respect, keeping out mouth clean, and putting away bad feelings toward one another.

When I have love in my heart, I can choose words that still show I consider my opponent worth respect as a human being. I can use words that communicate that person was worth Jesus dying for. My words can be strong, to the point, and still seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6). I don’t have to cuss, slander, or go into a rage. I can have passion, raise my voice, do my best to stand up for my convictions, without regard for my opponent.

Our words can become weapons when they come from disrespect for another human being. We may feel helpless or ignored, so we use our words to hurt or destroy the one who contradicts us. We may be in a search for our own significance, so we try to harm the one through our social media posts and comments.

In verse 17, Paul says, whatever we do in word or deed, we are to do it in dependence on Christ and as a representative of His name. What we say and how we say it should be in line with what Jesus would do. What we do and how we do it should demonstrate what Jesus wants. When we lean on Jesus and walk in love, in strength, we give praise to Him.

Isaiah 45-47

Overall, these few chapters are a prophecy for Babylon and Persia. Cyrus is mentioned by name (45:4). Egypt and Cush (south of Egypt) and southwestern Arabia (Sabeans) would be subdued, acknowledging God working through Cyrus (45:14). Bel and Nebo are gods of Babylon (46:1). God’s plan is to use Cyrus to restore Jerusalem, and God mentions Israel’s stubbornness to receive God’s plan.

Again, in these Scriptures, we see how Scripture is manifold for generations. These prophetic words were for a near future, but quoted from in the New Testament for the future, as well as the treasures we find for us today. For example, Paul quotes Isaiah 45:23-24 in Philippians 2:10 “every knee will bow, every tongue shall take an oath…” The Bible is God speaking to us!

I want to take a look at a couple of gems I find in these passages. Chapter 45 verse 15 says, “Truly You are God, who hides Yourself” is a phrase that applies to the context around it. However, there is a principle here. In order to know God, we often need to seek Him in dependency. If He’s hiding, it’s so He can be found.

Another truth I love is in 46:3-4, showing us the heart of God to carry us from birth to our old age, a promise of care for us throughout our entire life. Each season of life has its own unique joys and challenges, and God promises to care for us through it all. It is a great blessing to have a Father who loves us and watches over us, to be able to feel safe in His arms.

#covertocoverwithmelanie #covertocover #growchurches #bible #biblecommentary #melaniestone #readthebible #readingthroughthebible #biblereadingplan

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