Sunday, December 27, 2015

Colossians 3:12-13 (NRSV): Spiritual Growth

Colossians 3:12-13 (NRSV): Spiritual Growth
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

When we allow Him, Jesus Christ rules our hearts even in the most trying moments. One challenge of discipleship comes when we are tempted make an uncharitable choice under duress. However, through humility, patience, and compassion for others, we are to think on, pray to, and act in Christ. We are freely given the grace to lovingly respond to a given challenge, but it is through our free will that we make that response; we choose to reciprocate God’s gifts of “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” bearing with and forgiving one another. But who ever said choices were easy?

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but in the midst of joy and thanksgiving, it, too, can pose uncomfortable interpersonal challenges. This week, I have been reminded of the joy that loving relationships bring and the disappointment brought on by others. Paul’s reminder that God gives the gifts of “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” shows how much I need to grow spiritually and reminds me about my dependence on Christ’s mercy and strength.  St. Paul writes that in his weakness, Christ is made strong: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). And I embrace Paul’s sentiment.

In this week of loving communion with the Incarnate God, let us revel in His grace, knowing we are imperfect but loved despite our imperfections. Let us ask God to grant us the humility to grow, “[bearing] with one another . . . [and forgiving] each other; just as the Lord has forgiven [us].”

Please keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week, and may you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.