Put on God’s love, peace of God and the word of Christ
After these two negative foundations the apostle develops the positive face of a Christian spirit. In this mentality, three main themes emerge: the love of God, the peace of God and the Word of Christ.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do 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.
The love of God
Love and presence of God before the foundation of the world
If you love someone, you like, you even want to be with him / her. Love is accompanied by the need for the presence of the beloved. If this is the case for us who have so much trouble to love really, that is unconditionally, why would it not be also the case with God who is love in person and who always loves unconditionally ? God is not only trying to communicate with his children by talking to them, but also to communicate himself to them by loving them intensely and attracting them into his presence. This began before the foundation of the world for all of us. Have we ever thought about that?
Poured into our hearts at our new birth
It has become our experience when we discovered his forgiveness and when we were born again. We must try to realize what happened at that moment : he has poured out his love into our hearts.
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.Romans 5.5.
If I make sure to always remind myself that this contact already exists (Colossians 3.12a) and that it has such an intensity, I let myself be attracted to him, I let him stir up the love poured into my heart in order to learn to love him in return, very consciously. He knows how it is difficult to me to truly love, then he gives me the ability to love, pulling me in a close and lasting communion with him. This will lead my love for him and my neighbor not to have its roots in my unfortunately unstable and fluctuating feelings, but in the strength and stability of his paternal love.
An education that takes time and bears fruit
It’s a long education and like any education, it takes time, but in this time it will also bear fruit: 12b. Kindness, goodness will develop because it is more blessed to give than to receive. The smile of relief or of pleasure of the person we could help is a valuable reward. Humility becomes much more natural when I think my value is in the love of God, in my relationship with him, when I think I have no need of human references, which are much more uncertain, if not futile, and so easily disappointing. Sweetness becomes necessary because I too am sometimes obtuse and twisted. Patience will be a just answer from me, when I think about the patience others have had with me, when they introduced me to the gospel and met my slowness to understand, to draw logical consequences, to move forward. And they accompanied me not only with patience, but with affection. We can support each other and forgive them for these same reasons or looking at the goal we are to reach together, rather than at the relapses and misunderstandings of others.
Love from God, an effective antidote against misunderstandings
Love from God passed on to others is an effective antidote to get out of the misunderstandings, to avoid what may separate, to overcome what disrupts a relationship. Love works as a link, it is the strongest link, it is the link par excellence, the bond of perfection. So love is the secret of unity. And if it is true that love is a reality among us, let us remind that the devil is expert to generate all kinds of sand grains to grind the wheels or to block them. Let us be watchful to demystify these grains, so they cannot reach their goal.
A love that sets free…
Love binds with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit and the stronger the relationship is on the side of heaven, the wider the freedom is on the side of humans in the world. Love makes sober, it kills my illusions about myself, it distracts me from my false expectations placed on people and on the attractions of the world. These are appealing at the moment, but quickly misleading. In this respect love is also the secret of liberty.
…and increases the certainty of God’s direction
While love frees from the ties with the world, it increases my confidence that God really loves me (12a), that he wants to take care of my life for my sake and that nothing can hinder him from reaching his target.
For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1.6.
What a comfort to know that what God is undertaking, he will lead it to completion, especially when the time step of to-day is perplexing and would have us believe that everything will be missed. The love of God is the secret of my assurance that my to-day, my future and my whole eternity are directed by the Almighty.
I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day (of judgment) 2 Timothy 1:12
The peace of God
Try to find a positive definition of peace, i. e. without using any negative word! Does this not show how peace is something foreign to men, although all aspire to find it!
What can best describe the ordinary situation, the state of mind of God, is perhaps the word “blessed” (1 Timothy 1:11). This word suggests a total inner balance, a fully harmonious state of mind because nothing brings disorder, neither creates tension or disappointment, or suffering, or regrets … The peace of God is the radiation of this bliss, the impact of this harmony on everything he touches, in everything he says and does, especially for his children.
An atmosphere reigning between the Father and the Son…
It is primarily the atmosphere reigning between the Father and the Son. By his perfect obedience the Son has fully fulfilled the will of his Father about humanity and the world. Thus the whole pleasure of God rests upon Jesus, but it also rests on his children, his spiritual people. Despite all the faults of this people, because God delights seeing them already now complete, perfect, as they will be presented to him some day by his Son:
But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him.
…bestowed in the communion with Christ
Because in Christ we are made partakers of all that is divine (2 Peter 1.4), in the communion with Christ we receive something of that bliss: he develops in us a balance, a certain harmony in the character and behavior , a quiet contentment. Indeed, since there is no reason to doubt his love, we are sure to be held in his hand, protected against anything that could separate us from him, borne through difficult situations so that our insurance may still be reborn, according to what Paul stated above (2 Timothy 1:12).
The Word of Christ
We have already seen that God loves to communicate with his children, he speaks in order to reveal himself, i. e. to share his thoughts, his feelings, his will. When you talk from heart to heart with someone, what do you do? You are looking for words, turns of phrase that best transmit your deep thoughts, your feelings, your joys, regrets and deepest aspirations. You are putting what is most personal in the words you choose to express it, you are putting yourself entirely in what you express. This is the way we should understand the Word of Christ. And the person you are speaking to would completely miss your intention, miss you, if he only saw in your words a neutral information among many others: you would feel neglected, yes, plainly betrayed. Is this not what we do, if we read the Bible because, as it seems, we have to read it, or if we let it straight closed?
God created man to communicate with him, this is what appears in Genesis 3.8. God comes to seek contact with the couple, to speak with them, as friends do, and this was to be very common, for example in the evening. These humans, by their defiance, their pride broke this friendly, so natural relationship, raising between them and their Creator the obstacle of sin. But God has not given up so far and ceaselessly tries to attract them in a genuine and close friendship with him. Think of Abraham or Moses, but do not see them as impressive exceptions, “heroes of the faith,” as some say. Let us see them rather as simple, common examples of what God would cultivate as a regular relationship with his children. This is to show us the huge mistake, the affront to God we are making, if we imagine that to come one hour a week, to agree to make some gestures, to pronounce each time more or less the same words, is the normal way to cultivate this friendship desired by God.
And after having for a long time and often unsuccessfully, spoken by the prophets, his representatives, he came himself in the person of his Son incarnate in a human being. Not just for a quick visit, but to live what all men are living, except sin, and to take it over before the justice of God. So men could see God, hear his way of thinking, observe him in his relations with them, enjoy his many blessings, and for those who have trusted him, find a close personal relationship with their Creator. The Son was the most complete expression, the most understandable of the nature, the thinking , the love of God for His creatures:
He who has seen me has seen the Father.John 14.9.
For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form.Colossians 2.9.
This is why Paul uses the unusual expression Word of Christ. I can confidently give to his words the same total authority over my life as to those of the Father. They are not only a revelation of God, they are also bearers of life, regenerative. They have the power and the mission first to rescue, that is to give spiritual life and then to nurture and develop this life by forming the character of Christ in us.
For his part God has done everything in Christ to restore the friendship he formerly had with Adam and Eve. For our part we have to realize that a Christian is a person who died with Christ and is thus freed from the guilt of sin. Then comes a vast and patient cleanup of the consequences of sin: put to death all what in you belongs to the world, what is contrary to your new nature! There has been a change of ownership. Make a clean sweep to install what God is bringing: his love, his peace and the person of Christ through his Word. This is a different vision, a new mentality, a regenerated nature that God wants to see blooming out. This requires a new source of energy and the essential connection to constantly feed this reconstruction: the Word of Christ that must permeate everything in us.