Nothing Is Automatic
“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 whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3: 12-14
Choosing to follow Jesus begins the process of us becoming a true child of God (John 1: 12). However, there is nothing automatic about becoming more like Him. We could surely never save ourselves, but it is up to us whether or not we choose to grow in grace and knowledge beyond mere salvation. Virtues like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are to be found in us only as we choose to grow and mature in the things of God.
The Holy Spirit is always there to equip us with these desirable traits, but we must actively pursue and choose them to be at work in us in any given moment. In other words we must surrender to putting on these virtues moment by moment as they are needed in our daily lives. It is only then that we can effectively respond to the needs of others with grace, truth and love.
It is also true that we need to learn how to walk in forgiveness towards everyone, including ourselves. It took me many years to forgive my earthly father for sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally abusing me as a child. However, when forgiveness came it freed me up to live and love in ways not possible before I forgave. On my own forgiving such offenses was impossible, but when I surrendered it all to Jesus, His Spirit gave me the ability to truly forgive and finally move leaps and bounds forward in every aspect of my life.
Some people, even Christ followers, say they cannot forgive those who sinned against them unless the sinner repents and apologizes. That kind of thinking keeps the offended party from truly experiencing His grace and inhibits them from moving forward in many areas of their life. Forgiving others does not excuse their sin or let them off the hook with God. Everyone has to stand before judgement someday, forgiven or not. In fact forgiving our offenders many times does nothing for them, but what it does do is set us free and it allows us to move forward in the faith and life in general. My father went to the grave totally denying the things he did to me, my mother and others.
Having virtues is all good and fine, but they amount to nothing without love. Love covers a multitude of sins and it binds all things together in perfect unity. Love like everything else is not automatic in this life. We have to choose moment by moment to walk in love. None of this is easy. No one, including Jesus, ever said it would be. However, if we surrender our hearts and minds to His love and faithfulness amazing things can happen. With all I have been through since childhood, I am a walking miracle. When I surrender to His grace and love I do more than just survive… I thrive. I totally believe that anyone who loves and serves Him can be a walking miracle too. We just need to actually clothe ourselves with His virtues each and everyday.
Love and …..
Kirk Out !