“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.” Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
We have studied verses 12-13, but I felt we should also study verse 14 separately. After all the instructions to cooperate in the power of our Lord Jesus to begin to personally adjust into the purity of His life, this last instruction is the easiest and the hardest to make real in our lives.
It is the easiest in that it is the logical thing in Christ to love with the love He has given – just like everything else. This is the agape love most of us know as unconditional, full, and unreserved. It seems easy in our circle of friends, but His power is intended for us to be able to interact this way with all. There is no shortcut here – it is just the same as with all these characteristics, the more time and energy we spend focused in Him and purposefully sharing life in Him, the more this flows unhindered. His nature is in us, and it is modeled for us in the Word. As we engage Him over and over again, this flows outward – even when we might like to be reserved.
Our own lists of things to do, and our own agenda’s in what needs to be done – all get in our way in the delegation of time purposefully directed and intense in Him. We all have things that “must be done” that get in our way. Once we settle that this is what we really want in our inmost being, then His time finds a place, and that intensity finds an expression. Otherwise, all of this is an exercise in futility – unless He has His way in us in all directions. His power in His love is intended to live in us as a flow outwardly to whomever. May we find supreme delight as we choose Him over and over again above all else.
The last phrase in the NIV says “…love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” I have found most of the words used for “unity” in our English Bibles are not what we understand when we say “unity.” The word used here is a word used many times in the New Testament, and it always means “complete, completeness,” and it is sometimes translated as “perfect.” It is the completeness we feel when we know all is well and we have no lack or shortcoming. It is the word that means “to consummate” or to bring all things into perfect placement. This is used for the way Jesus is in God, translated as “fullness” as in Colossians 2:9. It also says we were brought into that same fullness or completeness.
So you see, it is all about being who He is towards everyone. This makes all the processing we do in Him work well. It is no badge of merit, but simply leaning and loving Him and choosing Him above everything and everyone. It has no limit to what He does within us when we move into a total reception of His person.
Such wonder, and such open doors to all. That is who our Lord Jesus is, and who He is making us to be as well.
1 John 4 “17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” NIV