Series: Jesus Manifesto
Message: Getting Dressed for Abundant Living
Preacher: J. Murdock
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Lydia Svoboda
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Colossians 3:5-17 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In today’s rendition of the passage, the paraphrase draws on the Apostle Paul’s metaphor of new clothing, which has roots in baptism and a committed life in Jesus. He writes:
You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. (Verses 9-11)
This “new life” that Paul is reminding us about is not just a matter of discarding the things that are lurking all the time but living what is beautiful—“compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.”
Each of these deserves a day to reflect on, or a week—easily. They are values and actions that demonstrate the reality of what happens inside when we follow Jesus. Think about kindness, just for today. What would it take for you to be kind or kinder today? What would it take for you to accept kindness from someone else? Are you the type of person to go out of your way to help others without them asking? Do you expect something in return or simply extend kindness because it is the most beautiful thing to do?
Who needs a little bit of extra kindness in their life today? Everyone does, of course. Kindness is about changing the culture of the space you are in. It is about being welcoming to those who are not necessarily welcomed. It is giving eye contact and listening to those who need attention. It is when you are tired and under pressure but you pause be with someone who needs those extra few minutes of your time. Kindness is the Spirit of God calming tension in a tough place. Kindness is grace when grace has been abused. Kindness is needed in the middle of the night and in the middle of the day. It is always on and never turns off. When we live the new life, we should be people who are kind. Kind to everyone, even to those who are not kind to us. This is only possible if we are wearing the clothes provided by Jesus. It is only possible if we are in Jesus.
Recalibrate: Where can you show more kindness today? Do you need to accept the kindness being offered to you?
Respond: Share a prayer for a space to live the New Life today.
Research: Read “10 Ways to Be More Kind” and come up with your own list.
Remember: “Do not lie to each other. You have left your old sinful life and the things you did before” (Colossians 3:9, ICB).
Japhet De Oliveira is administrative director for the Center for Mission and Culture at Adventist Health in Roseville, California.
What are you going to wear today? Ask your child to choose what they would like to wear on their legs, on their arms, on their tummy, on their feet and on their head. We get to choose what we wear on the inside of our hearts every day. Choosing to wear love from the inside out is the best makeover for any age. Know that love has us covered no matter what size we are.
Have you ever been somewhere and the kids did not play with you because you were different from them? Maybe you were a different color or had different clothes to them. How did you feel? It does not feel good to be left out. Love never leaves anyone out. When this happened to me I decided to never do that to anyone else. If this has happened to you, maybe you could choose to do the same. Sometimes you will ask kids to play and they will say no they don’t want to. Don’t give up asking; this happens to Jesus all the time. He asks us all the time to come and play. Say “yes” to playing with Jesus today and ask anyone around you to come play, no matter how they look on the outside.
Paul is pretty good at repeating himself, and in Colossians 3:8, he goes back to what he was saying in Verse five—but this time with more specific instructions. He says, “Now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.” Paul is getting serious about which things in us must die and now he’s making sure we know what to do specifically. Almost as if creating categories for us to follow as we assess what we say when we open our mouths to speak. Think about it: Is what you’re about to say angry? Don’t say it. Is it going to hurt someone who hurt you? Don’t say it. Are you about to spread a rumor intending to judge someone else’s character? Don’t say it. Does anything you’re about to say have the potential to hurt someone rather than lift them up? Well, you get it . . .
Paul is saying that there are plenty of words at your disposal. Your job is to pick the ones that are good for you to have in your mouth and good for others to have enter their ears. Are you unsure what those words might be? Try this exercise for a day.
Imagine you have a microphone directly in front of your mouth all day today. Imagine now that the speaker for that microphone is placed directly in front of your mother and grandmother for the entire day. Everything you say will be played for your mom and grandma. Do you think you would still say the same things you usually do if that were true? How might your language change if you knew this was the case?
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:12-13). Compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience will allow you to bear with each other and to share of God’s Spirit at work within you. False humility is of our fallen nature, but through God, we can have true humility that will touch others and ultimately bless ourselves too. And since we have been freely forgiven by the righteous One Himself, we should be more than willing to forgive others who have wronged us.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Lydia Svoboda is a junior theology major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.