We talked yesterday about the pattern of growth described for Jesus and Samuel. So how can we grow in the middle of the chaos of life, the changes in schedules and roles?
Paul outlines a series of ways to live in Colossians 3. If we think about these as capacities to develop, as skills to grow in, I think they can be helpful for us, no matter what happens in 2019.
Paul starts with a simple condition: Since we are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. That’s a big deal. If we are in relationship with God because of the forgiveness of Jesus, we are chosen, holy, and dearly loved.
That’s not a question. That’s a statement.
In all of the things that Paul will say, he’s NOT talking about how to impress God or to make God happier with us. He’s not talking about some spiritual karma of making sure that we do more good than bad. Those are done. And if we do nothing else at the beginning of this year than to say to God, “You really do love me.” We will have a healthy start.
But from that starting point, Paul uses an image of clothing. And we can pick up on that image.
When you walk to the closet in the morning and you are picking out what to wear, reach in and take compassion and kindness. Slip your arms through those sleeves. With one arm, you will reach out to each other and to others, trying to understand the pain and challenge that your spouse or friend or coworkers are facing,
That’s compassion. Understanding.
With the other arm, you offer a graciousness, a kindness of response. Knowing that there is a reason for their struggles, respond appropriately.
Reach back into the closet and pull out humility. Slip it on like a sweater. Imagine that on the back of it, the sweater has your spouse’s name on it, not your own. Or, perhaps, it says “team us” rather than team me.
When so much of our culture is aware of getting credit for what we have done, or even for what we haven’t done, choosing to defer to others is a significant act. And it is hard. We want to win, we want to be right. And humility is choosing to not win the argument.
Tomorrow, more clothes.