Return, I told myself—to in-depth Bible study like I used to do, that stays steady on one passage or theme. Too much hopping about the scriptures lately like a March hare.
But where to settle? Isaiah, where December focused my mind? 1 Thessalonians, where four little opening phrases alone burst into multi-floral bloom before my soul’s eyes? Or Colossians, where God seems to be drawing me back, repeatedly?
After all, if it’s really Him drawing… respond!
And that needed in-depth study seems to be proceeding without my even plotting a route or revving an engine.
Like this morning.
Something I read brought me over to chapter 3 (again!), to right where I left off yesterday in my post.
I’d been visiting blogs—reading post after post of plans and plots and proposals for procedures by which I could purpose myself to perfection in 2013. They swarmed like bees in my head.
Then, landing back in Colossians’ colossal thoughts, I watched all those personal purpose possibilities fall into place: in the wastebasket!
Yesterday, I’d started getting my bearings. Today all that other stuff dis-tracked-ed me. Yet now, as I surveyed all the yellow highlighting and little brown dots I’d plunked in clusters alongside various pieces of text (both marking things the Bible tells me personally to obey), I felt, ironically… not overwhelmed, but relieved!
Yes, there’s a whole list of items Colossians 3:5-9 commands me to put off (eleven of them!), Col 3:12-16 gives ten or more further orders about things to put on, and then Col 3:16-17 goes on with more individual instructions…
But they don’t swarm. They settle, orderly, into three or four colossals:
Colossal Command #1: Seek those things which are above, where Christ is.
Colossal Command #2: Put to death the dead stuff. (There’s a dead man lying there in front of you. Count his arms, legs, tongue and toes dead! Put them in their correct category, instead of trying to make his legs walk and his tongue talk and his toes twinkle and his arms raise praise! He’s dead! — See verse three! [Col 3:3])
Colossal Command #3: Put on what you’ve already got within: Christ. Doing that takes care of the whole list that follows, for they’re all part and expression of His essential self: mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering patience, forebearance, love, peace, gratitude, grace…
Colossal Command #4: Do everything in the name (character/essence) “of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Related Colossal Command #4a: Let the peace of God rule in you. (You can’t do this without the others.)
Okay. So what about the Inventory?
That’s all those micro-dotted items counted above. They’re the signs and symptoms: of the dead life or the Christ life.
E.g.: Am I coveting? harboring anger? being dishonest? The old man’s rot is spreading! Kill it quick! Go back to Start (Chapter 3, verse 1 [Col 3:1-2])!
Am I forgiving like I never dreamed I could? accepting God’s will as good? loving that person who’s acting unlovely? making melody in my heart to God? That’s all Christ manifesting Himself in me. In this case, what to do: “Give thanks to God the Father through Him” for doing this blessed, amazing work in new/old me!
Get the Colossal Commandments right, and all the rest falls peacefully into place. Then I can choose a habit to develop and have a powerful dynamic within which to build it, and perfect purpose to boot!