God, today I submit myself to Your Word as I live out the roles You have placed me in. Please help me to willingly lay my life down as I consider how You have served me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Colossians 3:18-25
Colossians 3:18–25 If the first part of Colossians 3 explains the cycle of growth for the Christian, then these verses give some practical examples of how to live it out. We might have expected Paul to choose an easier subject for illustrating growth, but instead he jumped right into the personal business of the Colossian saints: describing how the Christ-rooted life should look in their most intimate relationships. He begins with marriage, the central relationship in society (3:18–19), and moves outward from there. We may not have a working concept of bondservants in our culture, but we can see how this set of instructions could apply to anyone who works for another person or manages the work of someone else.
FULLY CHRISTIAN WORKERS
Watch a short video by Tim Keller on honoring God with your job. (1:52)
Copyright 2016 Made to Flourish. https://www.madetoflourish.org. Used by permission.
DO YOUR WORK HABITS COMMEND THE GOSPEL?
Watch the short video below and then reflect on your attitudes toward your work.
Here’s a helpful question to ask when reading this section: what do these instructions have to do with treasuring kingdom realities, putting off sin, and putting on Christ’s character? Paul didn’t allow the Colossian saints to think about growth in the abstract. Instead, each reader of Paul’s letter would be able to see him- or herself in at least one of these categories.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
- Pick one of the roles listed in this passage that fits you. Are you a spouse, a child living at home, a parent, an employee, a student, or a boss? Now rewrite Paul’s instructions in terms of the cycle of growth from verses 1–17.
- Put off:
- Put on:
- Compare Paul’s instructions to the way people around you think and talk about being a spouse, child, parent, employee, student, or boss. What’s so counter-cultural or unusual about what Paul says?
- How is the gospel illustrated in Paul’s instructions? See Colossians 1:21–23; 2:9–14.
- Based on the role that you picked for the previous section, find a maturing Christian in that same role and observe how they’re applying Paul’s instructions. What did you learn from them and what changes do you need to make to exhibit the character and habits of Christ?
- These illustrations of the Christian life are not just intended to help Christians understand how to walk “rooted and built up in [Christ].” They’re also illustrations of the love of Christ to those who do not yet believe. This week, make a point to talk with a non-Christian friend or co-worker about how you’re growing in your relationships.