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 English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: If any group would simply focus on this passage alone, I am sure you would agree that we would be a better people on this planet. After all, how do we transform any culture without a marker? You need the benchmark and Paul is offering the Colossian Church the same thing he offers us today—by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same living bench mark for our culture.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Verse 15)
Jesus is the marker, the benchmark. Let the peace of Christ rule our hearts, so that we can be one people, treating each other with love and respect in good times and hard times. Always exercising grace and forgiveness to others. Learning how to carry each other when we need to, with kindness and compassion. This is living from a space of abundance and freedom. When you live this way, you are inspired by mission and vision and not threatened by fear of competition. You want to collaborate and share— and the success of your friends and family is your success. You celebrate all the time. Their loss is also your loss; you are deeply woven together. This is the way of Jesus.
If I asked you what you would want to be known for, if I asked the Colossian Church what would they want to be known for, what would the reply be? I hope the united reply of any Christian would be wanting to be known as people who have Jesus in our hearts. Nothing else matters. Jesus. All.
Recalibrate: What legacy are you creating for yourself and your family? What is the driving force behind that legacy?
Respond: Pray for clarity from Jesus.
Research: Read one of the suggested commentaries on this passage.
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.
Does your child have a favorite outfit? Is it their dress-up clothes or their pajamas? Put on your favorite clothes with your little one. Jesus has favorite clothes for us. They are from the design house of love and they are made from peace. Dress in love made from peace. This fashion is timeless and will be able to be handed down, blessing each generation that chooses to clothe themselves in it. Wear love from the inside out.
I asked a friend to come and play the other day and she nearly didn’t come because she was worried about what to wear. Have you ever not gone somewhere because you didn’t have the right clothes? Love changes how we see people. It doesn’t matter what color our skin is or what style of clothes we wear or what age we are—love looks on the inside and sees what is beautiful. Look around your world and choose to love. It’s the best way to play.
Forgiveness is a tricky thing. If someone seeks to do you harm, especially when you’ve been working so hard to remove all words of abuse from your own mouth, it can be that much more difficult to grant someone forgiveness for the pain they caused you. Paul somehow doesn’t seem to understand this when he tells the Colossians to forgive each other for any complaints they may have against one another. Just like that? But what if they don’t deserve it? What if they didn’t say sorry first? What if you know they plan on doing it again?
Paul doesn’t leave any room for the “what ifs” and simply says, “forgive.”
Why, you ask?
Well, Paul covers that too when he continues. He says we are told to forgive, “just as the Lord has forgiven you” (3:13). I know it’s tough to forgive someone for hurting us, but I also know that I have done some things that have hurt Jesus. And the crazy thing is, Jesus has already forgiven me for those things. And often I don’t say sorry and will probably do those things again. If God can forgive me for those horrible things I’ve done, then I’m pretty sure I can find forgiveness in my heart for the things my friends and peers do to hurt me.
Who in your world might need you to forgive them today? What’s stopping you from forgiving them right now? How might your life be changed knowing you don’t have all that pent up frustration and anger towards that person weighing you down anymore?
“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” (Colossians 3: 16). Let His love ring loudly and encompassingly throughout your mind and soul. Tell of His goodness toward you. And remember that thankfulness is always a byproduct of joy—perfect joy in the only One who is good.
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.