Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
The Lesson of the Washcloth
By: Joan Benson, cbn1.com
My longtime friend came for lunch, bounding in the door, effusing hugs and giggles with her signature enthusiasm for life. We hadn’t seen each other in-person for several years, but as friends and sisters in Christ, we shared a history that spanned a few milestone-filled decades.
Anne handed me a small gift bag made of colorful cloth, ribbon-tied with flair. At her request, I emptied it onto the counter. Most of the items were practical, yet thoughtful goodies, including a devotional and Scripture verse. My eyes fell to a curious piece of knitting, a small rectangle of dark green yarn. Explaining how she was just learning to knit, Anne proudly held up her first project, a “washcloth.” As she dangled the stitching between us, two rather sizable holes became obvious – not lacey, planned holes for effect. These were irregularly spaced holes where stitches had been accidentally lost.
“I don’t know how those holes got in there,” she announced with an infectious laugh. Thanking her for her thoughtfulness, we went on to enjoy our short time together as couples – eating, sharing, and celebrating friendship.
All too soon, it was time to part. When final goodbyes were said and our friends pulled away, I reached for the small swatch of knitting once more. I was genuinely moved, but I wasn’t sure why. And then I began to understand its significance. Anne had entrusted me with her handiwork – though it was flawed. Would I have taken that risk, or would my pride have overruled?
The Bible tells us,
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, Colossians 3:12,” (NLT).
I had witnessed my friend’s spiritual fruit in action.
Tears bubbled up as I realized that Anne also trusted me with her imperfection. She wasn’t looking for my approval. This small green square of knitting was a reminder of our long-held friendship, a journey not without its own trials and breaches of understanding. Just as Laban declared in Genesis 31:48: “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today, (NLT)” I knew the washcloth stood as a witness of our covenant relationship. Though not perfect, we were bound together in Christ’s love and forgiveness.
The Lord continued to layer His truths into my heart. What joy that we can come before the Heavenly Throne as imperfect products, flawed by sin, while our Heavenly Father sees us through the filter of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes,” Ephesians 1:4 (NLT).
When we ask for forgiveness, despite our “holes,” our sins, Father God cherishes us as His children. Indescribable grace and mercy!
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins,” Ephesians 1:7 (NLT).
It became clear that this little washcloth was much more than it would appear. It represented the way God has shown us to live in relationship with one another in the Body of Christ – with humility, trust, and love. It also shouted grace, mercy, and forgiveness – highlighting the loving Covenant with Father God. I knew then that this washcloth would not be used for washing dishes, but for teaching me how to live. Who would have imagined so much truth would be woven into a simple knitted washcloth?
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)
Profit and loss
By: Charles Spurgeon, 365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1
“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 12:15-21
Spiritually man is a great trader—he is trading for his own welfare; he is trading for time and for eternity; he keeps two shops: one shop is kept by an apprentice of his, a rough unseemly hand, of clayey mould, called the body; the other business, which is an infinitely more vast concern, is kept by one that is called “the soul” a spiritual being, who does not traffic upon little things, but who deals with hell or heaven, and trades with the mighty realities of eternity. Now, a merchant would be very unwise who should pay all attention to some small off-hand shop of his, and take no account whatever of a large establishment. And he would, indeed, be negligent, who should very carefully jot down every trifle of the expenditure of his own household, but should never think of reckoning the expenses of some vast concern that may be hanging on his hands. But the most of men are just as foolish—they estimate the profits (as they conceive them to be) which are gained in that small corner shop called the body, but they too seldom reckon up the awful loss which is brought about by a negligence of the soul’s concerns in the great matters of eternity. Let me beseech you, my brethren, while you are not careless of the body, as, indeed, you ought not to be, seeing that it is, in the case of believers, the temple of the Holy Spirit, to take more especial care of your souls. Decorate the tenement, but do not suffer the inhabitant to die of starvation; do not paint the ship while you are letting the crew perish for want of stores on board. Look to your soul, as well as to your body; to the life, as well as to that by which you live.
For meditation: We can be so bodily minded that we are no heavenly use.