Read Colossians 3:1-17
This series has probably been one of my favorites because its whole focus has been on the power in and behind our words. I hold words incredibly valuable in my life. Therefore, when I read the words of Colossians 3, I am reminded of my true identity. I am reminded of what is expected of my life as a follower of Christ, and I am challenged with what my life, actions and speech should represent.
The Church of Colossae was a smaller church, think maybe 50 people. At the time Paul is writing this letter, Nero is still in power. As some of us know, Nero is someone who persecuted Christians by slaughtering them any way he saw fit. During this time, the church was in desperate need to remember whose they were. Paul’s main message in this book is about our completion in Christ, about the fullness in our walk as believers. Paul understands the power behind words and constantly used his words, through his letters, to help shape the lives of his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Have you experienced this type of encouragement in your life? Maybe you’ve been spoken to in both encouraging words but also degrading words and both sides of the aisle help shape the direction you walk and/or think. I am no different than this small church. I am in need of constant reminder of whose I am and my completion in Christ.
I believe I hold words so valuable because of my own story of holding onto words that were spoken to my 6 year old self. Growing up, I heard compliments, encouragements, loving, kind words but the words that were deeply rooted within me and shaped me for many years were that of not being good enough. It didn’t matter how many people pointed out all the good and special things about me, it was the words of that one important man that shaped how I saw myself for many years. Because of this one lie, instead of putting on the fullness of Christ, I chose to put on the world. I chose to walk in a direction of finding fullness anywhere but Christ.
Again, I remind us: words shape lives.
Paul uses the words, “Put on” which in the Greek translates as “to clothe with”. What if we put on everything mentioned in verse 12? What if we clothed ourselves with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience? What if we held each other up? And in our speech, what would happen to the body of believers if we truly walked in the fullness of Christ that is accessible within us?
As Pastor Nick has recently mentioned in a sermon, what if our speech was “Grace filled”? I challenge you to take a moment to read these verses again. Read each characteristic and take it before the Lord. Ask Him if change needs to occur in your life and in your speech.
If it does, then change. What you say can either build up or tear someone down. So don’t let anger, malice, wrath, slander or even greed shape your words. Train your thinking and examine your speech.