12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And 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.Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV)
Many organizations have rules or standards which they expect their members to follow. Some fraternal organizations, in addition to rules, have rituals and customs which they observe on a regular basis. The rules are intended to insure the members represent the organization in a positive light to others. Some of the rules may also guide the interactions between members so there is an attitude of respect. Being part of a group usually comes with expectations; or at the least common behaviors.
Paul writes to the Colossian believers that as people chosen by God, they need to exhibit certain behaviors and characteristics. They are members of a group which is seen as holy and dearly loved by the Father. He tells them to adopt characteristics which demonstrate love given by God. Paul continues by instructing them on how to interact with one another based upon what they have received from the Lord. In order to live out this guidance, Paul tells the people to rely upon the message of Christ and to assist one another in following that message. Then he concludes by challenging them to do and say all things in the name of the Lord.
Those of us who are followers of Christ are members of God’s chosen. We are not chosen as part of an elite group or at the exclusion of others. God has chosen to love and redeem us. This is the group of which we are members. The instructions and expectations Paul gives the Colossians then apply to us as well. They are intended to ensure we represent to the world the behaviors of people who are loved and redeemed by God. This can be a challenging set of membership expectations. Paul’s last instruction can benefit us as we strive to meet the expectations. This instruction requires us to pause and ask ourselves how Jesus would feel about his name being attached to our words or actions before we say or do them. Definitely would prevent us from doing anything which does not align with the group membership expectations.
Congratulations on being a member of God’s group. Strive each day to uphold the expectations.