Colossians 3

Colossians 3

Living as those made alive in Christ
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian households
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism.


Reading this passage is a two-fold reminder. First, to not set our minds on earthly things. Second,  to focus most of our attention on relationships, most importantly with Christ but also with each other.
On earthly things, Paul is referring mainly to what we could commonly describe as sexual immorality and greed. But more generally speaking, we understand that we should not give too much attention to material things as a whole. This actually reminded me of Matthew 5 Verse 19: which is asking us to not store up treasures on earth which will end up either broken or stolen but to store up treasures in heavens.
On relationships, Paul lists some dos and some dont's. Don't lie, don't have bad temper. Do show patience, kindness and love. Do foster positive relationships. He places love above all virtues and makes it clear that it is love that perfectly unites us.
Paul was onto something. 2000 years later, a study from Harvard University on happiness, the longest of its kind, spanning over more than 70 years, concluded that the strongest predictor on happiness, was not linked to material things, but instead to close relationships like spouses, family, friends and social circles.
This passage is a guide to everyday living. This is a call to reset our priorities too. But what Paul asks us to do is challenging given our brokenness and flaws. We can't do this alone. We need God with us, in us, to fulfill Paul's directives. Therefore, I would like to pray for all of us.
Lord, give us the wisdom and the strength to follow Paul's words. I pray that you distract us from any evil desires. I pray that you  remind us of what matters and help us to draw closer to you.

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