By: Kim Womack
As I sat at my desk with my paper, pen, and Bible, I looked through Colossians for a “nugget” of encouragement to send to my husband who has been in prison for over two years now. I came across the scripture in verse 10 of chapter 3: “and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created Him.” New man clearly defines both my husband and myself, for we have both reclothed our hearts and minds to be more in the image of Christ Jesus over these last couple of years.
For many years, my husband and I were more like what Colossians 3:5 and 8 describe: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, grabbing whatever attracts your fancy, bad tempers, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. We both needed to change! Our marriage had become a breeding ground for unfaithfulness, alcohol and drug abuse, anger, and unforgiveness. It was truly by the grace of God that we are still married and thriving in our relationship with God and each other.
By surrendering completely to God and following scriptural principles, we have each become that “new person:”
1. Change what you think about.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 NKJV
We no longer seek out pleasure from other people or run to drugs as a way to satisfy our fleshly needs and to escape our problems. Nor are our thoughts on how we are going to become rich, have a luxurious house, and take extravagant vacations. While there is nothing wrong with having nice things, when it becomes your “god,” and you make it your main focus in life, you are setting your mind on earthly fulfillment, not heavenly rewards. Rather, we now turn to God for all of our needs, put God's Kingdom first, help other people come to know Christ, and are content with what we have here on earth.
2. Change your reaction to other people.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering. Colossians 3:12 NKJV
When I was living my life for myself (selfishness) and someone would say something that offended me, they would not get a response of kindness and tender mercy. Instead, they got a fiery, heated glare followed by some not so nice words expressing my disdain for them saying something to me that I did not agree with. I’ll be honest, this is still a work in progress for me, but I definitely have become a much kinder, meeker, and merciful person. I now try to think before responding to people whom I don’t always agree with, and if I do say something unkind, I will be the first to apologize and make things right.
3. Change your attitude about forgiveness.
Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:13-14 NKJV
When your spouse cheats on you and leaves you, it's hard to love and forgive him. When your child turns her back on you and is ungrateful for everything you did for her, it's hard to love her and forgive her. When your parents shun you and abandon you, it's hard to love them and forgive them. When your friends go behind your back and slander you and turn others against you, it's hard to love them and forgive them.
Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest acts of love to show for another person who has truly hurt us. Forgiveness is also the most important act of love that Jesus has done for all mankind. When we have been deeply hurt by another person, the last thing our flesh wants to do is to love them and forgive them, but that is exactly what a child of God will do. Just as Jesus, the Son of God, did for us, we as heirs of the most high King should do the same. By forgiving another person, we are showing our love and gratitude for what Christ did for us.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NKJV
By putting on the character of the “new ‘wo’man” of Christ, I have found a peace that is priceless. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing everyday I’m living more for God than for myself, and I’m grateful each day that I’ve been shown such love and grace.