Paul continues directing the Colossians in regard to what life should look like after the cross. He is speaking to those he calls “the elect” “holy” and “beloved.” The apostle Peter also refers to the new believers as elect and in Ephesians Paul writes of those chosen, and set apart. Such a privilege to be chosen, set apart to obey God and cherished of Him. Paul’s letter to this esteemed group comes with some instruction about what to put up with, what to put on and what to put in.
Put Up With
In verses 12-14 of Colossians 3, Paul writes about relationship. He describes the character one must put on. He lists several things to put on; tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, forgiving one another. Thus the title, “Put up with”. It describes how relationship must be. There are things we need to put up with as we journey along with others; offences, being overlooked, what about me? (but that is another list.) Isn’t that what longsuffering is and bearing with one another and forgiveness. Paul writes, “if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” It is an act of the will. But must I? How can I? After what they did to me?
What to Put On
There is an extent to which any human can show kindness or patience but the relationships God requires of us demand the power of love in Christ. It is the perfect unity based on the truths of l Corinthians 13. It is the cloak over all. Putting up with can be done in the flesh but we must put on the love of God. There is the power. As we live and move and have our being in Him, He patiently teaches us to love. It requires in addition to putting on, some putting in.
What to Put In
Within us the peace of Christ must rule. We are all apart of the same body where Christ is the head. Be thankful! Where would a body be without a hand or a toe? In addition, the word of Christ must dwell in us. Reading God’s word is not enough. Thinking on it is not enough. It must dwell in us richly, take up residence in our lives, plant a garden and get to know the neigbours. It must be full of life and be life giving. The life of the word, its ministry to our spirits enables us to be part of the Spirit’s flow to others. When life and its circumstances come at us, the things we have put in will be what comes out. It comes out when we relate to one another.
All of our life, whatever we do, whatever we say is in the name of Jesus our Lord. All the while, we give thanks to God who is our Father through Jesus the Christ. Paul’s letter to this esteemed group gives us instruction about what to put up with, what to put on and what to put in.