“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved . . .” (Colossians 3:12a NIV)
Who you are has a direct bearing on how you behave. Who you think you are has even more bearing on how you behave. This is why the Apostle Paul labors to explain whom we are in Christ before he explains how we should act as followers of Christ. Our self-images tend to drive our attitudes and actions. So, before Paul explains what our attitudes and actions ought to be as believers, he holds up the mirror of grace to show us what we look like in God’s eyes.
First, we are God’s chosen people. I recently read about a scrap of paper that sold for 1.3 million dollars because someone famous had scribbled a note on it. The paper wasn’t valuable because of its quality or texture. It was valuable because of who had written on it. In the same way, we’re valuable because God chose us in order to write on our spirits the truths of His love and grace for the world to read.
Secondly, we are holy. This word means “set apart.” It connotes exclusivity. The moment husband and wife say, “I do,” they are “set apart” exclusively for one another. We would think it scandalous if the bride ran away with a groomsman after a wedding. We are the bride of Christ, set apart exclusively for Him. Cuddling up with the world or coddling a sinful lifestyle is like running away with a groomsman.
Thirdly, we are dearly loved. The last time my dad disciplined me was when I was around thirteen. I was trying to be like my best friend and was acting the rebel. I had disobeyed Dad on a particular matter for the third day in a row.
Before administering justice, Dad gently held me by the shoulders and told me to look him in the eye. I did. He explained my transgression and swatted me twice with a rolled up newspaper. I cried non-stop for two hours. It wasn’t the painless swats that broke me. It was seeing my defiant scowl reflected in the pupils of Dad’s loving eyes.
You are the apple of God’s eye, deeply and dearly loved (Zech. 2:8). When you look into His loving eyes what do you see reflected back, rebellion and defiance, or adoration and affection? Regardless, of what you see reflected at the moment, keep looking intently into God’s eyes. Something wonderful will happen. You’ll not only see yourself as God sees you, you’ll also begin seeing your behavior reflect His image, too.
© Paul R Downing