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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024

Scripture: Col. 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Col. 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Col. 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Teaching: After listing the behaviors believers should turn from, Paul lists the behaviors they should turn to. Similar to how each negative behavior was related to anger, each of these positive behaviors is related to love. Compassion connotes a sensitivity to those suffering or in need; kindness a disposition of thoughtfulness and being a blessing to others; humility a view of ourselves that reflects that we are just as much in need of Jesus as any other; gentleness an interacting with consideration for others and unaggressive manner; patience a quality of being self-restraining and long-suffering; forbearing an enduring of discomfort for the sake of others; and forgiving a releasing of grievances and grudges.

Each one of these qualities is part of the kind of love that Christ has for us: agape love. Agape love is not self-seeking but self-giving and is the result of the Holy Spirit. Paul says these qualities come not from within us, but they are “put on” because they are not of ourselves. Without the Holy Spirit, loving others as Jesus does is not possible. When we remember whose we are, and the price by which we were bought, Paul says, we ought to act in the ways of the one whose great love bought us. We all, too often, forget how much we have been forgiven and how much we have been loved in the moment we are incited to anger. Thus, it makes sense that Paul would contrast the behaviors of anger and the fruits of love to draw a distinction between the way we live in the flesh and the way we live by the Spirit.

Takeaway: Living by the Spirit, following His lead rather than indulging in the flesh, leads to a life of agape love. This sounds wonderful, right? And who would not want that? Well, living a life of agape love sent Jesus to the cross to die for the sins of the people who nailed him on it. When we walk by the Spirit, we should not expect life to rosy and for us to receive love from all others – it will be hard and when we are hated as Jesus was at times, our flesh will call us to react in anger. But in that moment, we are called to react like Jesus did. Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” We are called to love with agape love, endure the suffering and shame that will come of it, and instead, focus our eyes on the joy in Christ that is set before us.


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