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DEVOTED: Colossians 3:12–17

READ

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

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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. 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. (Colossians 3:12–17)

REFLECT

The journey from dissatisfied to devoted is marked by transformation. The scandalous grace of Jesus changes our legal standing before God’s judgment seat. But it changes more than that. It goes on from glory to glory, cultivating renewal in our hearts, minds, souls, and lives in every conceivable way as we are made new through him. The heart of sin that was turned inward on itself is reoriented and redirected outward toward God and others.

Jesus must be our first love. But he refuses to be our last. He maintains that a profound love for God will produce, by nature of its object, an ever-increasing love for others. And the presence of his Spirit within us will plant, nurture, and produce the first fruit of his own character, namely love.

This is not merely the message of Jesus, but the inherited heartbeat of Paul, and the binding commonality that holds together the communion of the saints. “And over all these virtues,” Paul says, “put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity” (v. 14). The term binds is used in other places to speak of the ligaments of the body’the part that holds together the infrastructure of our lives. The ligaments serve the purpose of both enabling and restricting movement. They set the parameters for how the body can move and for what the body is not capable of doing. Love empowers certain actions and attitudes, and at the same time, will not allow us to indulge in others. Love is the scope and movement of our lives.

PRAY

Jesus, make your love for us into love for you and others. Enable actions of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And restrict reactions of arrogance, coldness, harshness, and indifference. Let your peace rule in our hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

CONFERENCE

What actions has love empowered that are not natural to you? Likewise, what natural reactions has love restricted?