Just Like Him
Read Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against one another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Which of these attributes of Christ is the most difficult for you to imitate? How might a change in your character in this area impact your relationships?
Two days ago, we talked about taking off the old self and letting go of the sinful habits of our past that we tend to return to. I mentioned that in place of our old self, we need to put on the new self that is being sanctified to be more like Christ every day. When our old self dies with Christ and our new self lives in Christ, there should be a change in our character. So, if taking off the old self means getting rid of our sinful former way of life, what does it mean to put on the new self?
Paul answers this question in today’s verse. He calls believers “God’s chosen ones” and says that we are “holy and beloved.” In Christ, we have a new identity! We identify with Christ. We are chosen by Him, He makes us holy, and we are loved by Him. Because of that, our new character should be consistent with our new identity. Our physical behavior should be in line with our spiritual reality.
Paul then goes on to list virtues that are embodied by Jesus Christ—compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness. These are the virtues that we should “put on” as our new character. After all, if we are going to call ourselves Christians, we should act like Him.
When we study Jesus’ earthly ministry, His compassion and kindness was on full display, especially in His healings and miracles. The loving-kindness that we should reflect can be summed up with the Golden Rule that He preached in His famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:12: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them….”
Jesus is also the ultimate example of humility. From washing His disciples’ feet, to humbling Himself by being obedient to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8), Jesus shows us what it means to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
In addition to His humility, He is also meek. But meekness is NOT weakness. Jesus said of Himself: “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” (Matthew 11:29). In His gentleness, He modeled for us how to respond when being attacked and how to restore people who are in sin. His gentleness is a quiet strength that is under control.
Jesus is also perfectly patient and long-suffering. He is not short-tempered but endured much without retaliating. He was patient with His disciples when they didn’t understand what He was teaching them. And He is patient with us in our sin and our struggles. 2 Peter 3:15 says that it is His patience that saves us.
Finally, Jesus is gracious and merciful because He has forgiven us. Every sin that we have ever committed or will commit has been forgiven if we are in Christ. We didn’t deserve it and we could never earn it. In the same way, we should forgive each other.
Friends, in our own strength, we are not able to do any of these things perfectly. But we can be encouraged! These traits are fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)! Because we belong to Him, He has given us His Holy Spirit who produces these things in us. But we cooperate in the process by abiding in Christ and in His Word. As we walk with Him, we become like Him!
Lord, thank You for loving and choosing me. Thank You for making me holy. Please make me more like You by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.