Yesterday at church we focused on Colossians 3:1-17. Now Colossians 3:1-3 are my life verses. I often repeat them with my name in it. They have deep meaning to me. For I am not who I used to be–though some would like to say I am exactly who I used to be. They are incorrect in their assessment. And I refuse to shake hands with those kinds of statements. How about you?
“Well, you know how ____ is….”
“_______ always is such a hypocrite.”
“I know ______, she is holier than thou.”
“_______ will never get her act together.”
I guess, I used to be. Or maybe I gave the wrong perception or operated from the wrong motives. Even so, that is no longer who I am. When God looks at me, He sees me as His beloved child. And there is nothing that can separate me from Him or His love. I am covered by His love not the lies that some might slanderously speak over me.
In Colossians 3:1-17 you will notice that there are two kinds of lists–the list to take off and the list to put on, like clothing. Read below, put your name in it and notice the two lists:
Since, then, ______, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For ______, you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your (_____’_) life, appears, then you (_______) also will appear with him in glory.
______, put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived, _______. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
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. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, ________, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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. 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.
OK, maybe you read it…maybe you skimmed. Either way, go back and read it one more time, please.
What I want to put forth here, and doing so succinctly is this: For the put off list, notice that lying covers the behaviors here. We can live this way and cover it with lies. Whether we are believers or say we are, we cover with lies. Or perhaps we are overt in our behavior. That is absolutely true within our generation. But for the most part, I have witnessed and I have myself carried out this sort of covering, I act and then I cover with lies.
So do you. God says here, put this behavior off, like clothing that is no longer fitting. The thing about clothing is that we have a choice about how we are clothed (You can read more about that here.). When it comes to spiritual-behavioral-emotional clothing, we choose it.
We can also choose to put it off–not making agreements with others who knew us then. Right this second, we can be who we were made to be! It happens by putting on the clothing in the verses above. And what covers it? It is covered by LOVE.
There is nothing and no one that can separate any of us from the love of Christ–no opinions or gossip or slander or judgement. We are in Christ. We are made in his image. Now, let’s walk in WHO we are–we are His. And you know what? He has got you covered!! For He is LOVE–He is our covering!
Covered by His Love,