Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
When I first came to North Wake, I had been a long-time church-goer, but I had never joined any of the three churches I previously attended. Many say, “Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, not a religion.” So if I’m following Jesus, I wondered, do I need to align myself so closely with any local church?
I’m not alone in squirming at the thought of committing so firmly to a group of imperfect people. The notion of working with a group can bring memories of school “team” projects gone awry. God never lets me down, but depending on others could be a recipe for eventual disappointment. So, to formally join and support a group of people in a “local church” feels like a significant risk. What if we have to withdraw later? What if they take advantage of our loyalty? What if I unintentionally hurt other people?
In Colossians, Paul plainly says that Christians will have trouble as they meet together and live around one another. “Show patience,” he says, reminding us that these other humans will test our endurance. “Bear with one another” because there will be annoyances. “Forgive” because sadly, you will be wronged. Why bother, Paul? Couldn’t we save ourselves all the trouble if we keep to ourselves and God? What’s so great about rubbing shoulders with other Christians?
Our 2022 Annual Focus at North Wake will dive into these exact questions. We will see that our love for Christ will lead us to love all the people who belong to him. This love draws us to personal interactions with our local church body where we can learn from, teach, and help these other Christians we get to be with.
Interacting so closely with imperfect people means we will need a firm foundation. Paul begins verse 12 by reminding us that Christians are God’s dearly loved and chosen people. When I remember how greatly I am loved by God, I can be compassionate, patient, forbearing and forgiving by Jesus’s strength.
Beyond that, our association with other Christians allows us to participate in the creation of something that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Paul teaches us that we can be part of perfect harmony by showing love to others.
Musical harmony emphasizes how numerous parts come together to create something that no one singer could produce independently. If God has chosen me and is loving me so I can help create harmony, shouldn’t I want to learn my part? Listen to this musical jam session to get a refresher for how good harmony can be.
Why would it be vital for you to know you are one of God’s dearly loved and chosen people as you consider your life in harmony with other Christians?
In the video, the jam session happens because the singers showed up and were willing to sing. If this jam session represented your life around other Christians of North Wake, in what way would you like to contribute more to the harmony?
Is there a step you would like to take this year toward loving other Christians more?
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