This is post #8 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3: 12-14 (MsgB)
Let’s face it.
No one likes to finish in second or third place.
In our highly competitive, dog-eat-dog world, winning has become a high priority. Whether it be in business, politics, sports, or even when we drive into a crowded parking lot, that competitive spirit of ours surfaces quickly. Right?
Come on, now. Admit it.
You and I want to win.
Win at life. Win at games. Win at love. Win at just about anything we put our hands to.
I believe it was the renowned football coach, Vince Lombardi, who when asked by a sports reporter about the importance of winning a game, responded with this…
“Winning? Winning isn’t just an important thing…it’s the only thing!”
So, here in our highly competitive society, the idea of Becoming Otherly, content with second place (as Eugene Peterson translates it in his Message Bible), being the second banana in the fruit bowl, standing at the back of a long line, or simply being the last person served at a restaurant, just doesn’t sit well for most of us.
The Greek words Paul uses here in his letter to his friends in Colossae mean to hold up or bear with one another, even when doing so might become costly to us. In other words, being content with second place means to go the distance with another person, even when that second or third mile takes us out of our own way!
I’m guessing you’ve heard me speak in other blog series about the one-anothers of the New Testament. This phrase is used one hundred times in ninety-four New Testament verses, so please allow me here to give you this helpful list from an article on the subject published by author, Jeffrey Kranz.
Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.
- Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
- Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
- Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:16, 15:5)
- Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
- Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Co 11:33)
- Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another (Ga 5:15)
- Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
- Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
- Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
- Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
- Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
- Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:11, 5:9)
- Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)
Love. One third of the one-another commands instruct Christians to love one another.
- Love one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 17; Ro 13:8; 1 Th 3:12, 4:9; 1 Pe 1:22; 1 Jn 3:11, 4:7, 11; 2 Jn 5)
- Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
- Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
- Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pe 5:14)
- Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)
Humility. About 15% of the one-anothers stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.
- Give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10)
- Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Php 2:3)
- Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
- Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
- Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
- Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
- Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)
And, here’s the rest:
- Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Ro 14:13)
- Greet one another with a kiss (Ro 16:16; 1 Co 16:20; 2 Co 13:12)
- Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Co 7:5)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Ga 6:2)
- Speak truth to one another (Ep 4:25)
- Don’t lie to one another (Co 3:9)
- Comfort one another concerning the resurrection (1 Th 4:18)
- Encourage and build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
- Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (He 10:24)
- Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Pe 4:9)
You see, the idea of putting on the Garment of Becoming Otherly, being content with second place while preferring others over self, is not just a one-n-done idea, but it actually floods the New Testament.
So, I ask you…
How’s your Garment of Becoming Otherly fitting today?
Feels a bit tight and snug at times, doesn’t it?
Actually, mine pinches me in places I don’t want to feel!
Guess that’s why Jesus suggests there be less of me and more of Him going forward?
My Prayer: Jesus, You pressed Your case well when calling us to wear the Garment of Becoming Otherly. Plus, You not only taught about it, but You also modeled it, firsthand, as well! Father God, I know in my heart that this is the Way of Christ, but my flesh is weak. So, Holy Spirit, I ask for Your empowerment and strength to actually walk out the one-anothers in this highly-competitive, self-seeking, winner-takes-all world in which I live. For Your glory and for Your name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: To what degree am I willing to wear the Garment of Becoming Otherly? While I might be gracious enough to freely offer preferred parking places to other drivers, am I willing to “be content with second place” when it comes to more important matters in life? Am I willing to stretch myself here, preferring others even when the personal cost of doing so might be high?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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