Act like it!

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it…Colossians 3:1 MSG

If you’re serious…act like it!  That’s a convicting declaration. What does that mean? How do we act like it.  Fortunately the Word of God provides us with plenty of instructions to accomplish this.  Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a letter to the church at Colossians with instructions on how to live their new life with Christ. (Colossians 3)

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” (v. 2)

There are so many messages bombarding our minds these days. Whether it’s advertisements trying to get us to buy something; commentaries trying to convince us to believe something; media messages filling our mind with various thoughts. How often do we focus on the origin of the things we’re filling our minds with?  How often do we consider if it’s something we’ll be thinking about in heaven.

“…make sure its all gone for good: bad temper,  irritability,  meanness,  profanity,  dirty talk. ” (v. 8)

“Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,  kindness,  gentleness, and patience. ” (v. 12)

Most of us encounter other people as we go about our day. Sometimes these encounters can frustrate us and we are faced with one of the best opportunities to be different.  It is in the situations where someone really makes you mad that you have to “bite your tongue”. It can be so easy, and generally socially acceptable, to lash out in a way that is contrary to Christ. Be so careful and pray daily for self control so that your reaction will show mercy and kindness; 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.” (v. 13)

Accept others not only for all the things you like about them, but even for the things you you don’t.   Remember, you’re not perfect, either. And when you feel you’ve been wronged,  you must forgive.  Sometimes to do this goes beyond our human capacity, but the Holy Spirit will give you the ability to forgive. For whatever God commands us to do, he will equip us to do. (Hebrews 13:21)

“And cultivate thankfulness. ” (v. 15)

I like how the Message translation uses the word “cultivate”.  This clearly indicates the regular, ongoing attitude of thankfulness we must be devoted to.  It’s not just a moment where we are thankful because of one particular thing, it’s a way of life. No matter what may be happening in our earthly life, we must remember to be thankful because the God of the universe loves us; is actively involved in every detail of our life; and through Jesus, has made a way for us to know we will spend eternity in His presence. The final outcome is guaranteed. (Romans 8:28)

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus…” (v. 17)

“Whatever you do or say.”  That covers everything. This requires some careful reflection before we open our mouth or reach out our hand. (And of course regular prayer for divine assistance.)  I once heard a neat way to think about how we are Christ’s representatives here on earth. We are “Jesus with skin on”. In so many instances we might be the first and maybe the only example of Jesus’ love,  grace and mercy that the people we meet will get. How are we doing? Would Jesus be pleased to say we represent him?

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  (Colossians 3:10 NLT)

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