love binds them all together

Read Colossians 3:12-17.

Now if there’s a verse in Scripture we know in Churches of Christ – and are known for – outside of Acts 2:38, surely it’s Colossians 3:16:

“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.”

Now I’m an acappella sort of guy. But as important a role as acappella singing plays in the lives of individuals as well as corporate gatherings of many Christians, I strongly suspect we would have done better to have selected the four verses that precede vs.16 as verses to major in and to become known for, especially, vs.14:

“… over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (vs.14)

Now take a good, strong look at the virtues that Paul had just mentioned before he said that. Things like patience and forgiveness, compassion and kindness, gentleness and humility. These are truly heavyweight virtues; there’s nothing lightweight here! But Paul says all these things are needy, incomplete things when left to themselves. What they need is to be practiced in love for love alone can bind them together. Love is what causes them to make sense.

Think about it. Why do you do what you do? It very well could be your life is filled with doing many good things – heavyweight virtues like these just named. But how do you go about them?

  • Are you patient with people because being patient is the right thing to do or because you love them?
  • Are you humble because of your love for God and others or are you simply shy?
  • Is it love that motivates your kindness or is that just the way you were raised?
  • When you show compassion to those who are in need are hurting, do you do so to be noticed by others or does your care have its roots in love?
  • When you bear with the frustrating ways of others or forgive someone of some wrong, do you do so because of your love for them or because you know you’ll feel bad if you don’t?

Now those are good questions, aren’t they! I don’t know about you, but I need to pray.

Heavenly Father, I want to fit all of the fullness of your ways into my life. I want to be known not for how I do or do not sing, but for the way I act like you. But Father, most of all I want all that I do in your name to grow out of my sincere love for you and for others. Bring all the puzzle pieces together in my life; bring your Spirit of love into my heart each day, beginning this day, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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