Listen to this devotional:
Colossians 3:12-14 – 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. (NIV)
Our two dogs, Prince and Candy, were very different in looks, size, temperament, and personality. Sometimes this was a good thing, and sometimes it created a problem. Candy, being the leader of the two, would often attack Prince, tearing a strip off him for the least little thing he did. It was her way or the highway. Prince was not allowed his treat before she got hers. Prince could not be given attention before her. Prince would have to give up his chew toy if she wanted it, even though she had her own. To make a long story short, Candy abused her leadership position.
Candy is not the only one guilty of such an infraction, however. Within the Christian family, this type of problem can also occur. New babes in Christ, new people moving into our churches, or Christians who simply have a different outlook on doing certain things can also experience being attacked by more established Christians within their fellowship. That's not the way we do things here. We don't sing those songs here. Why should we do things the way the young people want? That's not the way we think about that passage. … and you're sitting in my seat! All of these statements, plus many more, can be ways of attacking others.
Due to Candy's behaviour, Prince became very shy and nervous. In short, he was afraid to be who he was. Noticing this, I began to make changes. Every time I witnessed Candy abusing her power as lead dog, she was disciplined. Before too long, her behaviour changed for the better, and peace and unity reigned once more within our doggy flock.
Through the apostle Paul, in today's passage and many others, God has set out principles for holy living among His people. When these rules are applied with a vengeance to our lives, they lead only to good things as they build, bind up, and create perfect unity. So today, if we feel like being on the attack with our brothers and sisters in Christ when things aren't going our way or to our liking, we know just what we need to do, don't we? Let's take a moment and consider, according to our Lord, what the true priorities of worship and relationship should be. Let us then make a conscious choice to build, bind up, and create perfect unity by applying them.
Prayer: Lord God, You know what we are like. You know that we often find it hard as Your children to accept the differences in others. You know we often find it difficult to be followers instead of leaders. Help us this day as Christians to remember that we have only one true leader: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. And as we remember this, we pray that You will encourage our hearts to apply with a vengeance Your rules for holy living among Your people, that Your unity may prevail. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.