February 10, 2006

God's Answers to Troubled Thoughts

While I was having my lunch break the other day, I brought along my Bible to prepare for my coming DG's bible study. My mind has been preoccupied with some thoughts of which will not go away. I had been thinking and also praying to commit to God during the little pockets of time in the day. After reading the John 3 passage in preparation for DG. My thoughts flew to what I had been thinking about again and in my heart asking "God, what should I do?" (for probably the 20th time). I thought about how I should pray and decided to flip to Phillippians to look for the verse which I had earlier blogged about praying. As I was flipping the pages of the Bible to find Phillippians, the pages somehow stopped at a passage in Colossians 3 (Colossians is before the book of Philippians). My eyes very quickly drew attention to 3 verses that were highlighted in pink on that page (I don't have many highlighted portions in my Bible).

(Colossians 3) 12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Although I don't quite believe in flipping the Bible and picking out the verses that you like to fit my circumstances, yet I can't help that my attention was drew to the word "love". I have been thinking and praying how to respond to a particular situation and how best I can do it in (Christ's) love. In the verses, God said to be clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

  1. Compassion: a sense of shared suffering, most often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce such suffering; to show special kindness to those who suffer. Jesus was a good example of this.
  2. Kindness: the act of being tender, considerate and helpful. It also means tolerant under provocation and being good hearted.
  3. Humility: the state of being humble. A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others.
  4. Gentleness: Being gentle is to show a tender nature.
  5. Patience: Good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence.
Clothing ourselves with the above attributes/virtues and being able to forgive others is what I should do. Above all, put on love. Having those virtues is how that I can show love.

I decided to read the verses before and after the above verses so that I can get a better idea of the context of the passage. There was a header at the beginning of Colossians 3 that says "Rules for Holy Living".

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

By acknowledging Jesus Christ as my God and Saviour, I can have eternal life. The Bible tells us that God has a place for me in heaven. I have been raised with Christ (now because I am saved. But not yet fulfilled because Jesus will be coming again and then I will be really raised up with Him) and therefore my heart and mind should focus on things that are above (heaven) and not earthly things (also see verse 5 below). Things that are of the 'above' are things that matter to God - our faith in Him Jesus Christ and our godliness and holiness. Other than putting on love to deal with the situation, I am also reminded to focus on heavenly things.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

God tells us to put to death everything that belongs to our earthly nature. Sad to say, our earthly nature is sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, lies, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from our lips. By 'putting to death' is to repent, say NO to them and turn away from them... and turn towards Christ. God is angry with us because of our such nature. But because of Christ, we can put off our old self and be renewed. None of us can say that we are totally free from the list above. But God has assured us that because of Christ, we can be made new BUT we have to 'put to death' those things. 'Putting to death' is not only verbally saying and acknowledging a 'NO' but also that we do what we can (by God's grace) flee from any temptations (or situations) that will lead us back to sin. This reminds me that I am also human and a sinner needing God's grace and salvation. 'Big' sin or 'small' sin, there are all Sin and I too, a sinner is no different from others, needing to put away those things.

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The above verses reminded me to let God's word dwell in me. God's word can teach and admonish (meaning reprove, take to task, warn, caution) each other with wisdom. I should also be filled with thanksgiving to Him who has given us peace.

After reading through the verses and reflecting on them, I cannot help but marvel at how God has assured me through His word in the Bible. I chanced upon Colossians 3 and the passage does encourage and remind me as I was thinking and praying about the situation. I know to some this might sound absurd that I had 'chanced upon' the passage and it 'applied' to me. I kinda had some answers to my question to God "What should I do?" as I was thinking and praying during the day. But I wasn't sure if I was right... Reading this Bible passage has then served to affirm my answers. It seemed like God's way of telling me "My child, I have already given you the answers in your thoughts and prayers by my Spirit. Here are my words in the Bible to confirm it." By His wisdom, I will know how to handle the situation practically, in the way that will please Him.

"Thanks and Praise to You Lord" :)

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