"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 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. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
To sum it up, going back to the boat idea that Pastor Jeff has continued with throughout the Greater sermon series, we need to act like we’ve been rescued from drowning, rather than still swimming and struggling. As “the holy people he loves”, we should not only act like we’re rescued, but help others who need to be rescued, and do to others as we want done to us. That includes opening our heart, and showing others what Jesus wants us to show to others, that is, “cloth[ing] [our]selves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” This certainly doesn’t have to be a big transformation, but small changes throughout the day, like being patient in a large line at the store, or showing mercy to others when they make mistakes.
Colossians 3:17 also instructs us that “whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father”. There are many ways we can give thanks, whether it’s to stop before a meal and bless the food in the Lord’s name, or give thanks to God in other ways at worship, or in times of prayer throughout the week.
Above all, we should remember that we are only transformed through God’s initiative, not our own, and we shouldn’t try to force huge transformations. We are firstly changed by His presence, and we should encourage his presence in our lives by reading more of the Bible each week, in addition to going to church. We are also changed by His power and His hope. As we grow closer to God and become more confident in His agenda, we’ll be able to move beyond our past actions and traumas, and into the present, where we will in turn be able to help rescue others who need help.
Remember also that in living as rescued, “holy people that He loves”, we should not be focusing on rules, but rather turning our lives around to reflect more like that of Jesus. Instead of turning to a neighbor, and thinking, “he really shouldn’t be doing X, Y or Z”, try instead to think of some way you might help them. If he or she is struggling with addiction, leaving a bad relationship, or going through a hard time in their life, then an outstretched hand could be the thing that—to use the boat analogy—saves them from struggling in the water and brings them up onto dry land. Because after all, regardless of our career or personal goals, that’s what our life should really be about.
If you missed out on this week's sermon, check it out here.