In most sports, a rule book is necessary to control and shape the game. Team members, from the coach to the player on the sideline, are expected not only to be familiar with the book but also to abide by these rules. When a player violates rules, a penalty hurts the entire team.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul exhorted them (and us) to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (v. 15). The imperative “let” reminds us that this is not something for us to do, but something to allow God to do. The “peace of Christ” is another name for the gospel (Rom. 5:1). Just as an umpire or referee controls the game by enforcing the rule book, everything we think, feel, say, and do should be governed by the gospel, both individually and collectively. Why? Because “as members of one body [we] were called to peace.”
Second, the apostle exhorted us to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly” (v. 16). The “message of Christ” is ultimately the Word of God. To “dwell” is to live or make a home with. How can we let the Word make a home within us? By teaching and admonishing “one another...through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”
Third, Paul exhorted us to “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 17). This means that in everything we do we should seek God’s glory (see also 1 Cor. 10:31).
The fourth and final exhortation of the passage is found in every verse: “Be thankful” (v. 15). “With gratitude in your hearts” (v. 16). “Giving thanks to God the Father” (v. 17). If we live like this, we’ll truly show that we’ve been made alive in Christ (Col. 3:1–14).
>> If you are on God’s team, you need to familiarize yourself with His “rule book,” our guide, the Bible. How can you be an effective servant of the Lord if you don’t know what the Bible says?
In Scripture we learn how to pray, how to love, how to avoid temptation, how to hope. Father, don’t let these teachings fall on barren soil. Transform us through Your words as we study and follow them.