Letting Colossians 3 Guide Us Through The New Year

Letting Colossians 3 Guide Us Through The New Year

23 life lessons to live by, as told by Colossians 3.
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Here we are, in the heat of the "I'm on fire for these New Year's resolutions" stage of the year. This is when everyone is in the gym, everyone eats more salad and everyone spends way too much time focusing on all the wrong things. Because of this, I like to think of January as the self improvement month.

The only issue is that actual self improvement cannot be accomplished by being solely focused on yourself. Colossians 3 gives us a great perspective as to how we can improve our lives by turning our focus towards others. After reading the chapter for the millionth time (hint: it's my absolute favorite), I picked out some life lessons that I think we could keep in mind for not only the next 12 months, but for the rest of our lives.


"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

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.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts for God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism."








Isn't it just great? Here's a few (a lot) of lessons and tips taken from that passage that I strive to live my life by:

1. "Your life is now hidden with Christ in God"

Our life here on Earth does not even compare to our life after Earth (in terms of both length and quality, of course).

2. "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory."

Focusing on God and His plan makes the struggles of our world a lot more bearable. Life gets pretty stressful and overwhelming until you remember that there is a greater good happening, and your life and your struggles are playing a part in it.

3. "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature."

Don't get caught up in the idolatries (sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed) that society pressures us with and clouds our thoughts with. These things are just Satan trying to shut us down and turn us away from the Lord.

4. "Now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."

The anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language that Colossians 3 says to rid yourselves of does nothing but bring you and others down. Don't carry all of that negativity around on your shoulders, and definitely don't cast it off onto other people's shoulders every time you get aggravated.

5. "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices..."

Stop lying—to others and to yourself. Being honest with yourself and with those around you helps you avoid troubles down the road, not to mention it keeps you from feeling constantly guilty or in denial of anything. Keep an open, honest policy in all of your relationships with others and yourself.

6. "...and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

You belong to Jesus Christ, so act like it.

7. "Christ is all, and is in all."

Let those words sink in and always remember them. He created each and every one of us in his image, which means there is a piece of him in all of us. He created us all to play an equally important role in the functioning world. In addition to that, he is the breath of life that put this whole world into motion. That being said, treat everyone with respect and be thankful for everyone and everything God gave you.

8. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved..."

You are loved and you are important. He believes in you and he is rooting for you.

9. "...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Be compassionate. Be kind. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. You'd be amazed at how much good you can do for the world and for yourself when you set your pride and selfishness aside and just be nice for a change. Be good to others.

10. "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another."

Forgive the people that hurt you. Whether it's a fight with your boyfriend or angry remark from a friend, losing that relationship is just not worth it. Grudges are parasitic. They hurt you slowly and secretively until you eventually reach your breaking point. It's better to forgive whoever hurt you on the front end of things than to live with the underlying anger that will eventually destroy you.

11. "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

When you're finding it hard to forgive someone, remember the one who forgave you in the beginning. Before you or I or anyone here even existed yet, Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins. He paid the price in advance for all of us, meaning forgiveness for all of God's children.

12. "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Love is everything. I don't just mean that ooey-gooey, honeymoon phase love. Love is what makes being kind possible. Love is what makes forgiveness easy. Love is why God created us. Love is what brings people together. Love is the same patient, kind, humble and gentle that Colossians 3 commands us to be, and we can also see this in 1 Corinthians 13.

13. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace."

Find inner peace through God. He doesn't like when you're anxious and stressed just as much you don't like when you're anxious and stressed. Let him be your escape, your sanity and your peace.

14. "And be thankful."

Be thankful for absolutely everything. When you're praying, don't just thank God for the food on the table or for the great people in your life. You should also be giving thanks to him for the obstacles you've overcome and the hardships that made you a stronger person. Be thankful for all of the good in your life, but also be thankful for the reasons why that good exists.

15. "Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

Spread his word and praise his holy name! What better way to celebrate this wonderful life God has given you than to worship our Savior and spread his love across the entire globe? His name should be shouted from the mountaintops and his mercy and forgiveness should be overflowing in every person's life. Don't let circumstances or your pride get in the way of worshipping our Lord and spreading his word.

16. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Once again, you belong to Jesus Christ. Everything you do should be to glorify him.

17. "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."

Wives, respect your husbands. Girlfriends, respect your boyfriends. Fiancés, respect your soon-to-be husbands. Men translate respect into love, so don't catch yourself belittling them, discouraging them, or doing anything that inhibits them from fulfilling his duties as the men of the house and the protector of his family.

18. "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them."

Husbands, boyfriends, and fiancés: do not lay a finger on her. It's your job to love her with everything you have, to hold her when she feels like she's falling apart, to provide for her, to protect her and to be her rock. She needs your love and she needs to know that she has your love. (And this should go without saying, but hurting her mentally or physically is not a way to show her your love).

19. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

Kids, even though it can be ridiculously hard, obey your parents. They've been your age before, so you should consider taking their advice. They often see things from a different angle, so just do what they say. Also, they put the food on the table for you and put a roof over your head, so you owe it to them to at least take out the garbage when they ask.

20. "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."

Dads (and really moms, too) respect goes two ways. If you want your children to grow up into reasonable people, spend less time criticizing them and knocking them down, and spend more time encouraging them and building them up. If you want them to come to you for help, and if you want to ever meet your own grandkids, I would suggest you start respecting them in the developmental years of their lives, when your love and support is vital.

21. "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything."

There will aways be someone to answer to, so just go ahead and accept it. Your teachers and professors hold your hopes of getting good grades, but they also hold your fate of failing classes. Your managers and bosses hold your hopes of getting a promotion or a raise, but they also hold your fate of getting fired or demoted. Your landlords can cut you a deal on rent, but they can also evict you. Oh, and the law (which will always preside over you) can either lock you up for the rest of your life or let you be the free person you want to be.

22. "Do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord."

Don't just do good things for good publicity and the good reputation. Do good things because you have God's light inside you that you're so eager to shine in every way possible. Set yourself aside and start working for the good of those around you, not just to advance your own agenda.

23. "It is the Lord you are serving."

By surrendering yourself to serve others, you are serving the Lord. Help other people, love other people, forgive other people, work hard, glorify God, and let your light shine.


That was a lot to write, so I'm sure that's a lot to swallow. Colossians 3 has some great guardrails for us, as children of God, to guide our lives by, though, so keep them stored in your heart to carry with you throughout this new year and on into eternity.

Cover Image Credit: Kristi Russell

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

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Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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The Truth About Politics In Religion And How It Affects Our Relationship With God

They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

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It's evident that religion can and has been used in politics from the values of voters and leaders. However, to use your religion or your relationship with God for making political decisions doesn't share the same meaning.

I've always loved finding all the best facts and research for argumentative work but I couldn't pursue that approach for this topic. Why? Because I've experienced the pattern in my relationship with God of how God defies logic.

God can't be contained to a definition or explanation. I liked the way I've heard one leader express that, "If you hear someone trying to explain to God as if he knows then he's a fool before he starts talking". That's a paradox within itself.

I've learned more recently to identify that the two sides of the paradox that you might wrestle with in understanding God are both true. That, yes, His hands are big and He knows exactly what to do to make you surrender but you'll also find no greater love than with Him because He has the biggest heart and knows what you need better than you do.

I think that accepting this paradox will differentiate between those that view politics religiously versus those that view it from 'what is God trying to do here'? The one that focuses on seeking 'what is God trying to do here?' would represent those with a relationship with God. This doesn't mean that referencing the laws of God exempts you from having a relationship but the love of God is the strength that sustains the relationship over the law. This is also a bit of a paradox because they're both important in Christianity.

There's the difference from seeing God as one-sided which is very prideful, limiting and incorrect compared to recognizing that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

I believe that what we believe and how we see God will bring limitations or provision on how we can be used in God's plan for His kingdom on earth when it comes to the way the world is run.

God, our relationship with God and the law of God all have to be considered in the things we do as Christians.

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