I decided to read a portion of Wright's After You Believe for my morning devotion and got these few verses I felt I should meditate on.
Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience: these are not easy virtues to grow in my weakness and state of sinfulness. But I must put it on like clothing every day, every hour, every moment.
But I believe these are not weak virtues at all but strong, bold and courageous ones. It may be easy to practice it in normal circumstances but what if you or your friends are being persecuted, or simply being bullied.
The first section from v.12-15 seem to indicate how relationships should be between believers in the body of Christ. Yes, it should start from within the family of God but it should extend to our lives in total as we engage with all other people. It should become natural for us when we practice it within so that it becomes easier that we will also be natural at it at all times.
How can I have a heart that is compassionate? How can I be kind, humble, meek and patient?
From the second section from v.16-17, the way to grow in these virtues is to spend time together with the family in Christ, letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to God.
Meeting together then is one very important discipline for us Christians. We learn to accept one another, bearing with each other's faults since none of us is so great ourselves in the first place.
But if I find it so difficult to love my own fellow brethren, how can I even begin to love others, especially those whom I find difficult to relate to?
I have not really encountered many of those but there are a few. I'm trying to keep wearing my clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, but it's getting tough and I'm getting disturbed and troubled.
But whatever I do, in word or deed, I need to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (v.17). This would mean that I act and behave as a child of God. I need to be like Christ and imitate him. Be compassionate but strong and wise, hence to let the word of Christ dwell in me richly (v.16), so that in my weakness, He who is in me is strong.
God help me.