By Waylon Bailey
Several years ago John Ortberg wrote a book on spiritual disciplines entitled, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.” It deals with prayer, Scripture, solitude, and other practices which will bring us the kind of life and relationship with God we’ve always wanted.
That seems to be the same kind of message Paul gave to the Church at Colossae. He encouraged those new believers to set their minds on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. He also encouraged them to leave earthly things (meaning things of the flesh which are opposed to God) behind. He gave them a list of things to “put on” and a list to “put off.” He then told them to live according to who they are in Christ.
What can we do to have a life that pleases Christ and by extension gives us “the life we’ve always wanted?”
Paul reminded them of the virtues which are uniquely Christian but which non-Christians appreciate and desire to see in those who believe.
Paul gave eight areas where we should live according to our new life in Christ and endeavor to let the Spirit of God work in our lives. These areas are compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and love.
Who would ever denounce these virtues? Wouldn’t they create a great work environment? A wonderful neighborhood? What about a family?
These are qualities that make the world and our lives better. I’ve often said that it’s hard to keep people from a place where they are loved. It’s also difficult to ignore compassion, kindness, and patience. All of these qualities are in short supply. When these kinds of virtues are wrapped in a bundle of love they get noticed and appreciated.
We are all blessed when we function in an environment filled with these impressive qualities. After all, who wouldn’t want to work, go to school, or live in a family life that?
There’s something else this produces. When we are the ones practicing these virtues, it brings blessings to us as well as the people around us. When we let Christ rule our lives we live in a state of peace, joy, and love.
Our obedience to Christ blesses others, and it blesses us. It’s the life I’ve always wanted.
What about you?
Waylon Bailey is senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Covington and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board. This editorial first appeared on his blog.