Read His Words Before Ours!
Be Who You Are?
Look around and you’ll see all kinds of inspirational quotes encouraging you to
“be yourself”, “be who you are”, “you be you”.
Absolutely! God made each of us uniquely (Psalm 139:13-16) and we can celebrate that! However, found hiding underneath these pithy statements is a subtle message to focus on whatever you’d like to say or do regardless of what others think or care about.
Surely this must be the “real” you.
Who you are depends on you.
When I became a mom 11 years ago, I slowly had to face the painful reality of
who I thought I was,
what I felt defined that identity,
and the stark contrast of who God says I am in Christ.
Who I thought I was, wasn’t good enough.
I needed something much more solid.
Perhaps you’ve had a season like this, where God uses circumstances and people in your life to patiently reveal where your identity had wrongly been resting.
Perhaps like me, you didn’t even know it was resting there
and it was God’s grace He showed you!
The book of Colossians gives us a different framework to, “be who you are”.
It’s actually the most hope-filled message of identity there could possibly be!
Colossians 3:12 begins, “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved…”.
What glorious truths!
God chose me of His own will!
His redemption makes me holy!
The Father already dearly loves me!
Paul purposely sets the Colossians up to be rooted in who God has
already established them to be.
If we go back to the beginning of chapter 3, He also reminds those in the church:
1) We have died and been raised with Christ
2) Our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4)
So in a sense, this is Paul’s case to “be who you are”.
Perhaps a better way of saying this is be-who-you-already-redemptively-are.
(but that doesn’t fit quite as nicely on a bumper sticker, now does it? 😉
The Clothes Laid Out For You
Paul continues by telling us what to “put on”.
It’s as if these are the clothes that the Holy Spirit has laid out for us.
Among them are compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (3:12), as well as forgiving one another and bearing with others, and above all the garment of love, which has the ability to weave all things together in unity (3:13-14).
It’s important to note these all relate to our relationships with others.
Whether with family, neighbors or co-workers, we all feel hard-pressed in the very things we’re told to put on!
This is a tall order in our own strength and impossible to muster up.
Which is exactly why Paul started by reminding us to step into these clothes
from a place of being chosen, holy and dearly loved.
This identity is fitted by the power of God.
We don’t show compassion and kindness so that God chooses us.
We don’t respond with humility and gentleness to make ourselves holy.
We certainly don’t show love to be loved.
When we know and understand our position in Christ,
it frees us to step into the character God has designed us to show others.
Reflecting The Father
In 3:13 Paul implores, “forgive as the Lord forgave you”.
In verse 15 he asks us to “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts”.
In 3:16 Paul insists “the words of Christ should richly dwell (take up their home!) in us.”
With wide strokes and vibrant colors, Paul paints what a life reflecting the character of Christ looks like when we put it on.
When Genesis 1:27 tells us God created mankind in his own image, it supports what Paul is saying here. Since you’ve been crafted to reflect the image of God – so reflect Him! Do It!
We are given ample opportunities to do this through the relationships God has placed in our lives. Remembering we were created to reflect Him helps us turn away from seeking our own comfort, pleasure and happiness in those relationships, instead asking God’s glory to be revealed even as we struggle and brush up against others.
When we are rightly rooted in reflecting God’s image,
we’re not stuck trying to be filled by others as we relate to them.
At first glance, it seems Paul begins an entirely new thought in verses 3:18-4:1, but if we think about the whole chapter, it becomes clear Paul is simply drilling down to another layer.
He’s already encouraged us with who we are in Christ.
He’s told us what to put on.
Now He’s showing us what our daily relationships will look like
if the first two areas are embraced.
Tying it up, Paul circles back to what could be the second side of the same coin.
Instead of stating his point from the place of our identity,
this time he states it from the place of our ultimate motivation:
to bring glory to our Master!
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart,
as something done for the Lord and not for people,
knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord.
You serve the Lord Christ.” (3:23-24)
What are you wearing today, Sister?
Does your apparel reflect the rich identity you have as Beloved Daughter of God?
Wear it well and may it bring glory to God!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!