The Christian community at Colossae couldn’t have been more diverse. It was a ripe opportunity for friction and division. Paul knew this environment invited discord, grievances and relational fractures—the things he said to “put to death” (Colossians 3.8-9). But a stranger witnessing Christian fellowship in Colossae would’ve been amazed. The unity between the diverse believers was uncommon in that culture.
These believers from different backgrounds were capable of getting along because of the Jesus connection—he gave them the reason, example, and power.
Because we also live in an adversarial culture full of diverse people—Republican and Democrat, U of M vs MSU or Baptist and Catholic—“bearing with” each other can be a challenge. It’s difficult and challenging not to fall into anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech and lies when we’re provoked.
When we have major differences with the people in our fellowship, it’s easier to write them off and reject them than to stick with them the way Jesus sticks with us. What we choose can make or break a church.
However, we always have the choice of putting to death our old nature and reactions (Colossians 3.5-8) by putting on our new nature in Christ. And if we ask God for his help, he will give it (1 John 5.14-15). Today, start to memorize Colossians 3.12-13 by using the bookmark given out last weekend. As you memorize, ask God to help you look past divisions to become more like the Christ.