Good Life Journal - Colossians 3
"If then you have been raised with Christ..." Col 3:1a
Powerful. Reflective. Full of implication to the Believer. Here is what I observe asking the guy in the mirror: Do I habitually ignore what follows?
Did you ever notice how many directive verbs Paul uses in his Letters? I think he uses a lot. I also think that I habitually run right over them, glossing over the directive to see descriptions or other words. Paul writes very well-I would say "cool." I like reading Paul-relatively short, sweet, but also hard and blunt. His vocational training a long time ago was as a lawyer. There is an example to imitate in that Paul is blunt and gentle at the same time-but to be sure he isn't wishy washy.
I look at Colossians 3 and I see significant directives. In fact, if I restructured this chapter to an outline format I would certainly highlight and exhibit certain values by doing so. I have transferred to an electronic device for my Bible but past I would circle the action oriented directive verbs.
The whole of this chapter is predicated on the above statement: "If then you have been raised with Christ..." and then Paul follows with certain and specific conclusions: Seek the things that are above...; Set your minds...; Put to death therefore...; You must put them all away...; Put off the old self... (an ongoing work that looks assumed by Paul "if I have been raised with Christ", I guess..); Put on the new self...; Put on then...; Let the peace of Christ rule in (my) heart...; Be thankful...; Let the Word of Christ dwell in (me) richly...And (finally) whatever I do...do everything in the Name...
Verbs and verb derivatives; declarative and directional; implied or directly stated responsibility to attain or strive for-I have to pay attention.
I want to be a serious disciple. If this is my stated intention, then I must pay attention to what God is saying in His Word. One turn of phrase to look at and pay attention to are the "If/Then" statements: "If I am to do (something), then (this) is what follows...as active participation with the Holy Spirit in my Human Responsibility towards Sanctification---basically (without the flowery theological language) understand and acknowledge that I have to get to work. Outside works (Preach the Gospel, Feed the poor, Serve one another, Practice Hospitality) are easily recognized as obtainable works-I can easily "do" these things (in comparison). The harder "works" to engage in are certainly listed in Col 3---works that engage us to "put to death the old man" and "put on the new man." While this happened (in a sense) at conversion (justification) the plain implication of the Scriptures is that this Work isn't completed (sanctification-wise) and that I have to roll up my sleeves daily...
Lord God: I want to be a serious disciple. It is all I have ever wanted from the beginning. 45 years later this is still my stated desire, my longing cry. I have read Col 3 again and again over these years; I have put into place plans, actions, reflexes to engage. I have intently paid attention to some of these directives while in parallel with others. Am I despondent that I haven't arrived? No, not at all, because I know that the journey, the process is inevitable as I daily mortify the old man. If I improve in my conduct and sanctification before You 1 degree at the end of my life I will know that You are pleased with my faithfulness. You, O Lord, are merciful and gracious towards me. I am and will always be grateful. AMEN.