Put on Love
Colossians 3:14 ESV
Colossians 1:7 (Epaphras and the Colossians)
Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
Colossians 1:15-20 ESV
I Corinthians 13:1 (a noisy clanging bell)
Philippians 4:19 (God supplies all our needs)
I love this verse and I regret I’d not noticed it when my children were young. Wouldn’t it be awesome if children were taught, “Don’t forget your gloves and…be sure to put on your love.”
I am a huge fan of children because they can be fun and adventurous! They can be very loving if they are allowed to love.
Teaching children to put on love could absolutely change the world. That’s because the things we learn (really learn) as children stay with us all the days of our lives.
Colossians 3:14 tells us, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colossae (which was located in modern Turkey) he had not personally visited the church but he wrote the letter to address specific issues they were practicing. Paul knew that because his trusted friend Epaphras had been there and had been in contact with Paul (Colossians 1:7).
In true fashion the Apostle Paul was direct and to the point. He heard of false teachings of the Gospel and in Colossians 1:21-23 he wrote, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation: under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
Paul made it clear that he knew where they started, he knew who they could become, and he cautioned them with a very direct ‘IF’ statement.
If you stay the course and remain stable and steadfast would have definitely raised eyebrows when the letter was read to the church.
Paul sought to encourage and warn the church to stay on track. That meant Paul would speak directly to the issue.
After Paul reminded them of the blessings God had given them, he spoke to who Jesus is as God. He told them in Colossians 1:15-20that Jesus, “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
The Greek word for Preeminent is proteuon. It’s a verb that means “holding preeminence”. In other words Jesus surpasses everything.
Paul’s words are clear. We died with Christ and die to our sins. Jesus arose and so we arise in Christ.
Jesus made it so we can put on His qualities of love (Colossians 3:14). Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do. For me, that’s where the I wanna wanna wanna thing comes in.
When I was younger I found that while I wanted to rely on Jesus I struggled with it. So I would go to God and tell Him I really want to give it to Him (die to it). I told God I really really want to rely on Jesus (be raised with Jesus). And I really really want to put on love but I am struggling with it.
I found that God accepted my desire to die to the thing I am struggling with. God accepted my desire to be raised above it. And God took my desire to love and gave me love.
I don’t think God expects me to do it without Him. God is just waiting for me to be willing.
Years ago I was told about a book written by sociologist, Rodney Stark entitled The Rise of Christianity. Stark was not a believer but he was fascinated by what set the first century people of The Way (Christians) apart from everyone else. How did this small band of renegades survive and even thrive?
He found that when the plagues came the early Christians were the only people who would knock down the doors the Romans had boarded up, go in, care and pray for, and offer food and clean water to the dying. The people of The Way survived because they trusted God to provide healing. They thrived because they loved.
Today nothing has changed. More than 2000 years later Paul could say the same words to us. Without love we are missing the point.
If you don’t have love do not despair. All you need to do is want love. God supplies everything we need (Philippians 4:19). YOU need to ask and be willing to receive.
We may have wonderful constructed buildings. We may preach great entertaining messages. We may have persuasive evangelistic words, but if we do not love we are missing the point.
Paul knew without love the people of The Way “were a noisy clanging bell.” (Corinthians 13:1).
Spiritual Practice: I wanna
Tell God you wanna love. God will supply the love and teach you the rest.
In God, Deborah