Saturday, 28 January 2012
This year I have decided to spend my Bible study time learning certain passages off by heart. So far, I have succeeded in learning Psalm 100, Isaiah 43:1-4 and Matthew 5:4-10. I have not done so well with Ephesians 6:10-18, possibly because I should have broken it down into smaller chunks, but I will come back to this one later in the year.
Currently I am working on Colossians 3:12-14, which is thus:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Now, last year, one of the chapters in the book God360° talked about this passage and suggested thinking on the qualities mentioned in the first verse whilst dressing. Of all the challenges in the book, this one has stuck with me the most. Every morning, as I place each item of clothing on, I think about how I can clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and, most importantly, love. I pray that the Lord will bless me with these virtues and give me opportunities to offer them to others.
Reading the passage again these last couple of days has caused me to evaluate how effective this has been. Some days are better than others.There are probably days when I'm not sure the attitude of peace, love and grace manages to outlast the time it takes me to get out of the house, but on others I am inspired to watch my thoughts and actions a little closer than usual. The question is, what can I do to have noticeably more good days than bad? And can I improve the usefulness of the exercise, so that people really notice a difference in me?
Perhaps part of the answer is found in verse 13: the instruction to "bear with one another" reminds me that clothing myself with these qualities is no good unless I put them into use on behalf of those around me. What use is compassion if it does not cause me to seek to help others? What use is kindness, if I am only kind to those I expect to return the favour? What use is humility if I have done nothing even faintly worthy of praise? What use is gentleness if I avoid those who feel burdened? What use is patience if I do not use it to bear with others? In other words, I ought to strive to become a more active Christian!
I think that should be my challenge for the next few months: seek opportunities to help throughout each day, and not just when I'm in a helpful mood. This will be tough, as I'm really busy with work and course stuff, but if I change my focus from my point of view to God's, perhaps I'll find the right balance at last. :)