15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Colossians 3:15-17 (KJV)
Reading this passage, I think of it as a formula for a happy life. And, no, it doesn’t talk about being rich or being able to go buy anything you would like. After all, as the saying goes, “money can’t buy happiness.” It does speak of things much more important than riches: peace, wisdom, singing, grace, fellowship, friendship, and giving thanks to God. Do you know of a better recipe for a happy life?
So, what are we called to do? What is this key to happiness? Well, we can read the words. But, how often do we ponder the meaning behind the words, in the words, through the words? What is God’s message to us?
In verse 15, it talks about God’s peace, and all being called, and being thankful. How can we have God’s peace? How do you feel a peace with being with a loved one verses a stranger? For me, the more I know someone and the more I trust someone, the more at ease or at peace I feel with him or her. It is the same with God. So, how do we feel the peace of God? We get to know Him through prayer, reading the Bible, meditation, any number of things that focuses on God. The more time we spend focused on God, praying to Him, reading His word, getting to know Him, the more we will trust Him and feel at peace with Him. And, after we realize that we can feel God’s peace and that it is only because of who God is and His willingness to share that peace, we are called to be polite and thank Him. Hopefully, our hearts will feel so peaceful and so happy, that we will want to thank Him and show our appreciation for it. (Think of it like wanting to know a new acquaintance better. It is all well and good if you want to get to know the other person, but if they don’t want to get to know you and ignore you, you won’t get anywhere. God gives us that friendship, that love, that closeness freely, if we seek it.)
In verse 16, we are called to help each other through this think called life. We are to encourage each other, call each other out when we are misguided, and to help each other get back on the right path. Sounds good to me. I like surrounding myself with friendly, helpful people. And, how are we supposed to do that? Do we yell at someone if they do something wrong and ignore them or outcast them? No. We are called to gently help them back to the right path and to be encouraging. It says, “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” I don’t know if we would literally go around singing our thoughts, words, and encouragement. However, I think if we take the spirit of the words, it is that we shall do it light-heartedly with encouragement and kindness.
Finally in verse 17, it calls us to be thankful and to realize that whatever we do or say it is for God, because of God, and with God’s help. We can’t do it without Him. He made us. He is our parent. He is our strength. He gave us life and love. We should be thankful.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
I have felt a change in myself lately. I have been in a kind of a rut, a plodding through life without much direction or a hope, but no clear direction and validation. However, recently, I have felt a warm, comforting feeling. It feels so good at times, that I want to thank God from the top of my lungs for the whole world to feel.
So, what has changed? Am I all of a sudden rich, worry free, or without issues? No. That isn’t it. I still have the same financial issues and daily problems as I have in the past. Yet, they don’t worry me nearly as much at the moment.
The thing that has changed is that I have been spending more time focused on God. I have been praying about what I want to do and how I should do it. I have been finding ways that support my end goals and doing them, instead of just talking about them. I have been reaching out more and trying to meet new people. I have been reading the Bible more and praying more. I have been trying to be more thankful and trying to give God the credit.
I like these changes. I do feel like a “new creature.” I feel like I have a bunch of things to work on, but I feel God is with me. I don’t feel the need to worry about it too much. And, for the first time in a while, I feel like I have a direction and validation for what I want to do.
It is always surprising when I feel good while focusing on God more in my life and wonder why I haven’t been doing it all along. Why would I not? Why would I not want this good feeling I have right now? But, even more importantly, why would I want to be away from God for even a second? I like this feeling.
I am finding that the second part of this verse is also ringing true, not that I would doubt God’s word. Not only am I being transformed, but also old feelings, old ways, old thoughts, old hurts, also seem to be falling away. I feel so thankful!
So, what do you need to “pass away” for fall away? In which way do you need for feel like a new creature? How can you get closer to Christ, to focus on Him more in your life?
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