Encouragement in Colossians
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, 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 also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”Colossians 3:12–15
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When you get ready in the morning, you “put on” many things. You put on clothes, socks, and shoes. When it’s chilly, you put on a hat or a jacket. If you’re a coffee drinker, you may put on a pot of coffee to brew. If you like to stay in the know, you may put the morning news on the television. There are many things to put on in the morning, but one thing is most important to put on—love.
In Colossians 3:14, Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” This is a gift of God and a virtue of Christ that we can put on too, through the grace of God. Love holds everything together, which is why there are so many passages about its importance. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul explains that if we don’t have love, we have nothing. John writes that we should “love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Love is essential to our lives. What a privilege it is to have been given the gift of Christ’s love to put on daily!
So then, how exactly do we “put on” the love of Christ? We do it first by understanding God’s love for us. First John 4:9–10 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God’s love for us is radical and unending. King David wrote many times in the Psalms that God’s love for us endures forever. Because of this, there is always grace for all those times when we wake up in the morning and fail to put on love.
We are free to love by serving God and our neighbor. Simple things, such as providing and caring for our families, speaking kind words to others, and lending a helping hand, are ways that we can put on love. Most important, we can serve God and others by proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. When we share the Gospel, we put on love and inspire others to try it on as well.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.