Key Verse | Colossians 3:17, 23-24

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
. . .
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Scripture | Colossians 3


Put On the New Self

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your 1 life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: 2 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 3 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self 4 with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, 5 free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Rules for Christian Households

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, 6 not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Footnotes

[1] 3:4 Some manuscripts our
[2] 3:5 Greek therefore your members that are on the earth
[3] 3:6 Some manuscripts add upon the sons of disobedience
[4] 3:9 Greek man; also as supplied in verse 10
[5] 3:11 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; likewise for Bondservants in verse 22
[6] 3:22 Or your masters according to the flesh

Let the Spinning Plates Shatter



Devo | Colossians 3

Keeping all of the plates spinning in the air doesn't equal faithfulness. I was sitting across the table from my boss, who had just admonished me with the previous sentiment. I was overstressed and exhausted,...

Keeping all of the plates spinning in the air doesn't equal faithfulness. I was sitting across the table from my boss, who had just admonished me with the previous sentiment. I was overstressed and exhausted, buried under my growing task list.

My flesh is bent toward success, perfectionism, and legalism. They sneak in deceptively to look like faithfulness, and the enemy distorts Scripture to be burdensome. Reread Colossians 3:23-24 and Colossians 3:17 through this faulty lens.

No pressure, right? My work is a form of worship and a reflection of Jesus to my team, so it must be excellent! Why had I run myself into the ground at work? Faithfulness, of course [sarcasm]!

Yes, we should absolutely work hard and do things well (see above Scripture). But, just like my boss wasn't impressed with how I had run myself into the ground to keep all of the plates spinning, I don't think God was impressed by my "faithfulness" either. Self-imposed striving, overstress, and exhaustion are poor offerings of worship and are definitely not examples of the life that is found in Christ.

Instead, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3)

We can rest. God isn't asking us to perform as a way to earn favor, nor does He think we are limitless. He calls us to work hard, but also to rest in Him. I'm still learning how to be faithful in this area, to fight my flesh, to balance work and rest. I still cringe every time a spinning plate falls. But maybe the shattering plates are a beautiful sound to God's ears.

Discussion Questions

1. We all have good, well-meaning "plates" associated with church, family, work, and our community. How many plates do you have spinning? Do they allow for a balanced offering of worship to God, or are you overworked? Do you need to let any of them fall?

2. Has there been a time when you have misinterpreted or misapplied Scripture in your life? How did you recognize the mistake and what did you learn?

Meet Jennifer Swenson

Hi, friends! My name is Jennifer Swenson, but most people call me JenSwen. I used to think that I could appease God by being a "good" person, but He graciously poked holes in that theory, revealing my own brokenness and my dire need for His forgiveness. Trusting in Jesus' finished work on the cross has forever changed my life and eternity. Just like everyone else, I struggle and experience difficult circumstances in this life, but God has been my strength and hope through it all.

Now let me share about a time when I misinterpreted and misapplied Colossians 3.

6 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson 14 days ago

GM JenSwen! Boy, do I love your analogy of spinning plates.

One of my daily prayers is to surrender 100% of my agenda to His agenda. I’m confident that the closer I get to surrender the easier it is to keep His fewer number of spinning plates aloft.

Many years ago, a great comedian had a classic routine about it. Spend 3:43 and have a good laugh, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK4nh5I0jpE

One of the many lessons I have learned post-salvation is how important it is to have a mission/vision. This is the lens through which I view the world and how the Lord calls me to witness, proclaim and teach, (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).

Among the many blessings in this exercise is Albert Mohler’s daily podcast, The Briefing. A great way to start my day off with 20 minutes of news through a Christian world view, https://albertmohler.com/the-briefing .

Hugh Stephenson 14 days ago

In this chapter my ESV is divided into what I see as alternately teaching and then application.

In the teaching sections I see Paul casting vision for the orientation of my heart and what it should look like as a faithful follower.

Mission/Vision:

“…seek the things that are above…”

“Set your mind on things that are above…”

“…put on the new self…”

“…let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”

“singing…with thankfulness in your hearts…”

“…do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks…”

Imbedded early in this passage are two promises to which I cling:

“…your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

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

Hugh Stephenson 14 days ago

In these two promises the ESV SB links back to Isaiah 49:2, Psalm 27:5-6, and Psalm 31:19-20 to “express the security of the people of God as they trust in him.”

As so often is the case, I see the last verse in the chapter as Paul’s summary and overarching directive, (Colossians 3:23-25).

Sue Bohlin 14 days ago

Outstanding devo, Jennifer! Bless you! Your suggestion that maybe God enjoys the sound of shattering plates reminds me of a Beth Moore direction to NOT finish every question of a particular Bible study to help break the “check box mentality.”

I enjoyed encountering v. 24, which explicitly links inheritance with reward. Years ago I heard a teaching that addressed 1 Cor. 6:9-11, where we find a vice list that includes homosexual behavior–which says the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Lots of people have conflated that with going to hell, and I have had to address the question of whether people who identify as LGBTQ+ are automatically going to hell. That’s not what the text says. “Not inheriting the kingdom” is about losing rewards, not losing eternal life. I’m grateful for how Colossians 3:24 connects the dots between rewards and inheritance in heaven.

Michael Scaman 13 days ago

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in ALL wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. "

Teach one another with all wisdom which includes in song. That calls for songs the combine emotions with with rich truths

Michael Scaman 13 days ago

Seems like when Paul addresses wives, husbands, children, servants, he keeps it simple giving each only one main thing to focus on.

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