Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29 - Clothe Yourselves

Today's Reading:
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21
Colossians 3:1-17
Psalm 117:1-2
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Focus Verses:
Colossians 3:12-15

12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are all prominent characteristics of God's people. These qualities are essential if people who follow Christ are to become a "people"--a community. Forbearance and forgiveness are also essential to community. Love is at the heart of all of this. Christ's love, peace, and forgiveness are what make it possible for his people to love each other and live together in unity.

Response & Action:
Are compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience prominent characteristics of my life? Are these the qualities I am known for by others? I need to think about Christ's great love and forgiveness for me. I need to consider how I can follow his example and exercise love, forbearance, grace, and mercy toward others.

Paul says instructs Christians to "clothe themselves" with these virtues. This instruction makes it clear that action on my part is needed for this to happen. I will give effort to the things that will help me cultivate, learn, and live out these virtues.

O God, thank you for the love, mercy, and forgiveness you have for your people. Help me to clothe myself with the virtues of love, humility, gentleness, and patience, that I might experience true Christian community and make a positive contribution to it. Help me to graciously forgive and forbear others and live in peace with everyone as much as is possible. Help me, and my circle of Christian friends, to be a testimony of your truth and grace as we live in unity. Help our community to be marked by love, gentleness, service, and peace. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Romans 15:5-6
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Life Together
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer