Why We Need to Practice Our Faith in Full Pads

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Colossians 3:12–13

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

CONSIDER THIS

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.

I have always thought of these as the goals or the outcomes of the life hid with Christ in God. I am beginning to understand them as the ways and means to get to the goals and outcomes. Because I understand life primarily through the lens of my individual-ness, I think of these things primarily as individual pursuits.

To be sure, Paul is talking about individual responsibility, but his endgame is not a bunch of isolated individuals trying to behave, living in towns, cities, and suburbs, and loosely connected through the building across town commonly referred to as the church.

Paul gives us the ground-game strategy for a changed world. It happens when a group of people do this:

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (vv. 12b–13)

This is what Paul means by “church,” the temple of the living God, the place where the Holy Spirit is pleased to dwell, and the home of miracles.

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience aren’t virtues to which we must aspire. No, they are our uniform. Think of them as the pads a football player wears in order to play the game. Mustn’t this be what Paul means when he says, “clothe yourselves”? 

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (v. 13)

Doesn’t that feel like protective gear meant to preserve our fragile selves and relationships in the midst of a world where sin destroys us and causes us to destroys each other? Because we have died with Christ and are now raised with Christ, we have been given a new uniform. Before, these were just clothes in the window of a store we could never afford to enter. Now they are the uniforms in our very closets. Football players don’t put on their pads because they feel like it. They put them on so they can play the game.

When we put on this gear and live out our lives together, we create the kind of community that changes the world. We become like a burning bush, on fire but not being consumed. People can’t look away. In fact, the closer they get, the more they hear the voice of God whispering, “Come closer. Holy ground! Take off your shoes.”

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience create the conditions where the Holy Spirit heals wounded people, mends broken relationships, and reverses intractable situations. These are not things that I do, nor are they outcomes that we can accomplish together. These are the things only God can do, and these are the kinds of communities where he does them.

How shall we classify Domino #3/12? How about Full Pads.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is the very embodiment of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Thank you for the way he has not only forgiven us, but the ways he continues to bear with us. Show me what it means to put on these clothes in the power of the Spirit and to stop seeing them as impossible ways to manage my behavior. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How do you understand the big idea (individual behavior management versus community mentality) I am trying to communicate today? Is it making sense?
  2. What do you make of the clothing (i.e., football pads) metaphor with respect to compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and so forth?
  3. Have you ever been in a transformative community who put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience and who genuinely forgave and bore with each other? What happened?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. #1) I believe that as we, the people of God, empty ourselves of of our own desires, goals, and agendas, that we collectively, we can be filled with the character of Christ, the visible image of the invisible God. Our common goal should be to fully grow into the mature full stature of Christ. This process is fully expressed within Ephesians 4:1-16.
    #2) Rather than pads, I perceive these virtues as the righteousness of Christ. If the unbelieving people of the world are to be brought to repentance and faith, they must first have an encounter with Jesus. Also, our local churches must be viewed as local outposts of the kingdom, where such encounters can take place.
    #3) Unfortunately, I’ve never experienced a fully developed version of this type of faith community, but I’ve gotten enough glimpses of it to know that it is possible. In my honest opinion, these manifestations of transformative communities should be the ultimate goal of this Awakening we seek. I pray daily for it to begin and to have an active role in it.

  2. 1) There are 50+ “one another” verses in the Bible. When Christians begin to obey them, hearts begin to connect and community occurs. We can’t “bear with each other” & follow the other “one another” commands if we refuse to band together and instead insist on our “individual rights.” The Bible is a group text written to communities. Very little of it is written to individuals.

    2) “Clothe yourselves” is plural. Those 5 characteristics mostly deal with relationships with other people. They are interactive behaviors much more than singular actions.

    3) Yes! My wife and I were asked by The Salvation Army in Nashville to start a “nontraditional church” in an empty church building in a rough East Nashville neighborhood. We modeled it according 1 Corinthians 14:26 and the New Testament concept of ekklesia (the proper name of the town hall meetings in Greek cities). Instead of a sermon, we allowed anyone present to say and do what they felt prompted to by the Holy Spirit and they considered “others better than yourself.” It was an amazing 9 1/2 years of powerful demonstrations of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I wrote a book about it: “Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia.”

  3. For 20 years I was part of a local United Methodist Church that came close to question 3. It was the church I where I was married and where my children grew up. I returned to church as an adult with a certain amount of skepticism and hesitation and this particular church managed to draw me in. Then a pastor arrived on the scene who knew what a 21st century church needed to look like; people were either on board with his thinking or not; there was no middle ground. The biggest problem for me was that up to that point I felt like I was making serious headway in my understanding of God and what that meant for my life. All my energies then had to be shifted to try and understand what was happening with the church; my own personal instinct was this was not good, and time proved that I was right., Just as that pastor had moved on and one that resonated with me arrived, a major event in my life proved that I had not made near enough headway in my understanding of who God is and who I am. Acquiring a better understanding of God and myself revealed the significant deficiencies of the local church that had always been present, even before the dust up created by that one pastor. I then went on to learn the truth about the Methodist/United Methodist Church. I have finally had to give up trying to find footing in a church landscape I no longer understand nor inherently trust.

  4. Good morning, The Daily Text didn’t appear in my husband and my email this morning. Grateful to find it on-line. Prayers that the technical difficulties are resolved easily and soon.

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