There is a little verse in Colossians that I have found to be one of the most reassuring verses in the entire Bible -- partly because of what Paul wrote and partly because of the order in which he wrote it. It's a verse that provides me with immense hope regarding my unchangeable standing before a loving God.
Paul wrote, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12, NIV).
The first reason I'm so encouraged by this verse is because of what it doesn't say. It does NOT say, "Therefore, so that you may be God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with..." We weren't "chosen" because we met some heavenly criteria. We're not called "holy" because we lived sinlessly for some kind of test-period. We're not "dearly loved" by God because we somehow impressed Him with our sanctity. We are all those things Paul mentions before we've done a single thing for God (other than turning to Him, which we needed His help to do anyway)!
This verse makes it abundantly clear that chosen, holy and dearly loved are not our goals, but are the starting point in our life with God -- and for each and every day we live for God.
Then it gets even more encouraging when we realize that every one of the things God asks us to clothe ourselves with -- "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" -- describe who God is. That not only makes it clear how wonderful God is, but it means that as we stumble inconsistently along on our journey of growing in these virtues, God graciously treats us in the very same ways He calls us to live.
But there's more! We know that because Jesus is the embodiment of each of these qualities, that it's Him we're to seek, rather than the traits themselves, in order to grow in them. We grow in compassion by seeking Jesus who is Compassion, and likewise for each. By seeing it this way, we put nothing before Christ and seek nothing more than Him. After all, isn't Jesus all we need?
Our life with God couldn't be described more wonderfully. As we begin with God, and as we begin each day we live for Him, He declares us chosen, holy and loved. Then as we continue living for Him, He simply asks us to seek Jesus, and only Jesus, that we may grow to be more and more like Him!
© 2014 by Ken Peters