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And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 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. 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. ’
Paul just listed out a bunch of things we would call virtues. Patience, kindness, you can guess the list even if you don’t remember it. But just like he says in 1 Corinthians 13, love is the most important one of them all. Love for God and love for one another as people is the foundation from which all kindness, patience, humility, and meekness come from. That is what brings all of those things together in harmony.
The world acknowledges that patience is good, but might promote it as a means of stress relief or maturity. ‘Random acts of kindness’ are championed by people that are good and by people that do all sorts of horrible and immoral things, because kindness is honorable. All of these virtues show up together without a weakness, however, when they are tied together in love for God and His people.
That is how Christ lived them out. He did not live out virtues by some self-discipline of goodness. He lived them out of His love for God that was greater than His love for His own self. He saw the Father for all He was worth and gave up His own wants and needs for the sake of the Father. When you want the championship bad enough, there is no such thing as getting up too early to train. When you are determined to adopt the baby of a drug addict, there is no too much to pay for medical bills.
When we see goals, we have no trouble going after them. Imagine a church bound together in perfect harmony. Paul practically gives us steps.
Put on love for God and His people as priority 1.
Let Christ’s peace be
Let Christ’s word dwell in you. (which is to read the Bible as much as you can)
Teach and admonish one another. (which is to talk about what you read in #4)
Cheer one another on as you worship God with thankfulness.
Set Christ as the center of all of your activities. If Christ isn’t in it, quit doing it.
Picture for a little bit what it would look like if 20 people did that all the time and helped each other to do it? Many of you are already pretty far down that path and just need a water bottle and a cheer to complete that kind of life.
Let’s do it. Let’s strive to walk in this and little groups of 10 and 20 join together in a worldwide church that lives out virtues like they are leftovers. With the unity of the Holy Spirit, bound together and serving one another in peace, we can make a name for Jesus our Lord. We can watch the Prince of Peace rule.