‘How to’ books are very popular and always have been. Who wants to pay for a service that you could do yourself, if only someone would show you how? YouTube is the pinnacle of ‘how to’s’. Not only do you get instruction but it’s on video! That’s what Colossians 3 is all about. It’s a chapter written to people who didn’t know how to live the kingdom life, the good life, the higher life in Christ. It’s Kingdom Living for Dummies. We are no different from these people in ancient Turkey. We desire God’s kind of life but aren’t always sure how to get there. Why? Because that life is secret, it’s hidden from the world, but it’s nevertheless real.
As you read this week keep in mind a few points to help you follow Paul’s line of thinking. And remember, always use a translation of the Bible that’s easy to understand. Lay aside those versions that after reading a section you look up and say, “Huh?” I like the New Living Translation; it’s accurate and there’s a natural flow in the words.
Colossians Chapter Three:
*Watch for the obvious contrasts: sin nature and new nature, heavenly thinking and earthly thinking, being dead to the world but alive in Christ, the materialistic life or the hidden life.
*Spend some time on the lists of behaviors from the old life. Compare them to the characteristics of this secret life you now have available to you. Which list would best describe you?
*It seems that our mouth is the primary concern. Surprised? I didn’t think so. The way we handle our anger can be changed and controlled through the power of the Holy Spirit. Your language can be cleaned up and the tendency to lie to make yourself look better will fade away. Slander and gossip will disappear and words of life can replace words of death.
Our lives reflect our relationship with Christ. We literally re-present Him to the world by our behavior. We respond in different ways to frustration, disappointment, and other causes of anger. We want to be different then we were before Christ was the center of our life.
This new life includes all of our relationships. Look at the examples in Colossians 3: wives, husbands, children, and fathers. It’s the ‘how to’ of relationships.
Hopefully, after reading this third part of Paul’s letter you’re getting the gist of his intense longing. As he sits in prison, writing to people he will never meet, he encourages kingdom living. I can identify in a very small way. It’s what I experience each time I research, study, and write this blog; I also want my readers to live the higher life. We’re in this together.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Colossians 3:16 NLT