Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, 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 must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV)
These verses were in my daily reading today and I had to stop and read them several times. This is a truth for churches, and I think especially for my youth group. Think about the amazing nature of what Paul is saying here. We are God’s chosen ones. I mean let that run around in your head for a while. You were chosen by King of kings. You were picked by Omnipotent Father, the Holy One. You were selected by the creator of the universe. How amazing is that!
Then Paul goes on to say, not only are you chosen, but you are holy and beloved. Now this is crazy. Paul is saying that we have been made new, and that we are loved by God. Then he says, since this is true about us we should be good to each other. Notice it isn’t be good to each other so that God will love you. God isn’t Santa making a list of who is naughty and nice. God loves you, he has chosen you so now you are free to be compassionate, to be kind and humble. God loves you so you can be patient and forgive.
Then Paul concludes with his wonderful statement to put love over everything because love pulls us all together. What does today’s church need? It doesn’t need better marketing or slicker worship gatherings. It doesn’t need a new political agenda or better laws passed. It needs love. Love isn’t always easy. There are people in my church that it is hard to love. But love isn’t something that you fall in an out of. Love is a supernatural gift from God. And the Holy Spirit living inside of me loves even the people that I find despicable and gives me the strength to respond to them out of that love.
Papa, that is my prayer today. Help me to love my church with the same love that you have for the church. Let me see each of my youth the way that you see them and help me to respond to them out of love.