The Message in the Mess

Colossians 3:12-17

Do remember the first time you had to dress nicely for a special event?

First, our parents or guardians sort of, well, force us to do it.  But later, maybe during adolescence, we might take more ownership of how we dress.  And of course, many of us have memories of our first formal school dance–the ultimate dress-up occasion!

What we wear does matter.  Our clothes can help us feel like we belong or make us feel appealing.  Clothes often have to be functional, like work boots or glasses.  And our clothing can even express our identity or beliefs!  In any case, our clothing communicates a message.

That’s why it’s such a good analogy for Paul to use in his letter to the Colossians.  Theirs was a deeply troubled church, torn by teaching that contradicted the gospel of grace which they had accepted.  It was as though they had taken off the “garment” of grace and replaced with one of their own making.

So Paul urges them to clothe themselves with a way of living that reflects the new life they’ve been given in Christ.  God uses our messy real-life challenges not only to help us grow and mature, but in doing so our lives become a message of grace, hope, and love.

For reflection:

  1. Do you feel that you’re experiencing the new life of Jesus?  If so, describe how that feels.  If not, what could you do to have a daily experience of Christ’s life?
  2. Paul gives a list of about 14 different ways of interacting with people.  Which ones would be the most challenging for you?
  3. Which of the behaviors Paul lists could become the most significant “message” of the gospel in your community?

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