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!
5 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Self-Inventory”
There is literally nothing in this cosmos that comforts like the Word of God. His list is the only one that counts… Thanks for the reminder.
And thanks, Floyd, for the visit and comment.
“Colossals” now there is a word. I never saw it used as a noun, always an adjective, but, oh, how I LOVE it. I memorized the book of Colossians in 2011 with the Holy Experience group. It was grueling, but it accelerated my spiritual growth like nothing I had ever attempted before AND it readied me for 2012, the year of brokenness and grace. I’d say you’d be in a good place with Colossians. Want to memorize it? Ann has a booklet on her site to use. It breaks the book up into 2 chapters/week for a year. You probably already know about all this, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it.
You know where I am in the story of the sower and the seed. That’s going to be a word by word, phrase by phraser. I’ll enjoy coming over here for a colossal.
Well it ain’t proper grammar to use an adjective that way, Dawn, but it just kind of rolled out that way and I let it! heh.
Thanks for the heads-up on Colossians. It really is a loaded book!!
And you’ve memorized it! I’m impressed! (I thought you said you didn’t do well at memorizing scripture. No, I don’t think so!)
Also thanks for the reference to the memorizing plan. Such plans are really good, for some (most?) people. I don’t find myself to be most people. An oddball, a little too free-spirited for that, I think. I’ve been getting (surprisingly) more scripture memorized every year, even as my gray cells are aging, but my “method” really isn’t much of one. As I meditate on a verse or passage and read it aloud over and over, some of that memorization just happens like song lyrics you sing without a memorization intention. And while I’ll take some verses singly, there are passages I kind of swallow in large gulps, not liking to divorce their verses from each other and lose their context. I guess I let my heart lead quite a bit (or the Lord in my heart?) I wouldn’t even recommend this way to anybody, it’s maybe too “whimsical.” But it works for me, so I’ll keep on whimsicalling it. (Now there’s a real abuse of a part of speech!) 😉
PS to Dawn: Forgot to say yes, I think I shall memorize Colossians (was already thinking of that, at least large portions of it), *and* the sower and the seeds parable! It *is* such a good one, and like He says, understanding it is key to understanding all His other parables. And with it, phrase by phrase is an excellent approach. “Some fell among thorns” all by itself (for instance) says so much!
God bless it. Let me know where you are in this at different times; maybe we can buddy up on it. 🙂
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