Paul lists certain areas in which these are to manifest:
18 Wives: understand and support your husbands—subordinate and adapt yourselves to them, as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord.
19 Husbands: go all out in love for your wives—love them and never treat them harshly. Be affectionate and sympathetic with them—do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them.
It is easy to read those instructions and think, “Sure, if my spouse followed those rules, then I could easily follow my rules . . . Get that idea out of your head. I want you to picture Paul taking the husbands in one room—the wives in another and he tells the wives, “This is what is expected of you . . .” then to the husbands, “This is what is expected of you . . .”
The husbands have no idea what is expected of the wives—and the wives have no idea what is expected of their husbands. Paul simply tells them, “husband . . . regardless of how your wife treats you—go all out in love for your her . . .” To the wives, he says, “Regardless how your husband treats you . . . understand and support him . . .”
20 Children: do what your parents tell you—obey them in everything—for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers: don’t come down too hard on your children—don’t aggravate and harass them. If you do, they will become discouraged—feel inferior and frustrated—and quit trying—do not break their spirit. 22 Servants [or employees]: do what you are told by your earthly masters [boss]. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best . . . not only when their eyes are on you. 25 . . . Being Christian doesn’t cover up bad work. With God, there is no partiality—no matter what a person’s position may be, whether he is the slave or the master.
Now let’s go back to verse 3:
3 For as far as this world is concerned, you died when Christ died, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God.
Yahoo! That is great news! You don’t live any more. Jesus lives inside of you! You are hidden in Christ!
4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory . . .
What did he just say? Well, look at what John told us:
“1 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we are called children of God! That is who we really are!!! But that is also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he is up to—they do not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him. [What would you expect? Red carpets laid out for you?]
“2But friends, that is exactly who we are: children of God. And that is only the beginning. Who knows how we will end up!—it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we will be, but we do know this: that when He comes and is manifested—is openly revealed, we will see him and as God’s children, become just like Him, for we shall see Him just as He really is. 3 All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
Did you actually read that, or just skim over it? We are God’s children and yes, we may have many questions, but when He finally appears again, all of those questions will be answered! That’s why Paul can say:
11 . . . believers are defined by Christ, all of us are included in Christ . . . Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us . . . 15 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other . . . let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts . . . let it act as an umpire deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds.
For those of you who are seeking direction from the Lord, this is the most important verse for you to follow. When you have a decision to make, don’t get all flustered and flummoxed . . . let that peace of God rule and “act as an umpire—deciding and settling with finality ALL questions that arise in your minds.”
I could give you dozens and dozens of examples of how this has worked in my own life. For instance, just before my wife and I were married, we looked for an apartment. We sat down together and wrote down on a piece of paper exactly what we wanted—two or three bedrooms; natural wood floors; fireplace; quiet neighborhood—we were very specific and even wrote the rent we needed. Then we prayed and presented the list before the Lord . . . well, I refused to spend every day calling on places; meeting people; begging and pleading . . . no! I relied on the Lord to direct us. Then, one day we looked in the paper and found a description of a home that almost mirrored our list perfectly. So we called the landlord to see the place. As I said, the apartment we found fit the description perfectly—except, the landlord wanted more rent than we could afford—but more importantly, more than we had presented to the Lord! And that is key . . .
Although, the moment I walked into that duplex I felt the Lord say, “This is for you.” That was all I needed. I knew, without any doubt or hesitation that we would live there. Now, it took several weeks of waiting, calling the landlord, waiting . . . my fiancé becoming restless . . . more waiting . . . finally, a week before the wedding, I called one more time and discovered that the Landlord had been trying to find my phone number. He explained that every time he had a new tenant, they either never showed up to present a deposit, or canceled at the last minute. He agreed to rent the apartment to us at the price we had asked for.
Another time we were looking for another home to purchase and I walked into one home and instantly knew we would own it. It was perfect for us, and as we were getting into the Realtor’s car, my wife said, “Well, we have to go home and pray about it.” I replied, “No need. The Lord told me it would be ours . . .”
Yes, the realtor raised his eyebrows, but my wife said, “well . . . okay.”
Now came the persistence of faith. I had no question that it would be ours, but we could not afford the price the owner was asking, and he refused to negotiate on the price. Well, we had to walk away from it for a time, but periodically I would call the realtor to see if the house had sold yet, and each time he said, “No.”
So I asked him to make our offer again, which the owner rejected. Now please understand that we were not being demanding, nor unreasonable. We were not trying to take advantage of the owner. We just knew what we could afford.
Several months later, I once again called the realtor and found out that he was no longer the agent of record for the home and he gave me the number of the realtor who was handling the property. I called the agent and I was a little bolder than I am normally, and told her straight out that she may think I’m a nut, but that the Lord told me 16 months before that I would own the home.
She laughed and explained that she didn’t think I was a nut, and totally understood. That is when she told me that her husband was the Pastor (who I knew) of a local Pentecostal church.
So she presented my offer once again to the owner, but this time, he countered my offer with a much better one! Not only did he accept our price, he literally gave us the down payment and left all of the appliances for us, including the washer and dryer.
This all came about because I heard the voice of the Lord and that settled the matter for me. Overall, it took 18 months for him to accept my offer, and I didn’t care if it took me several more years, I would still own the house!
I want to assure you that I am not some “supernatural” man of faith. I am just like you. I struggle with this stuff, just like anyone else. But I allow the peace that comes from Christ to rule in my heart . . . I allow it to act as an umpire deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in my mind.
Please also understand that the only reason I gave you these examples is not to boast, it is to point out that during the waiting period—I NEVER, even once, doubted, I KNEW beyond a moment of hesitation that we would receive what the Lord promised in my heart. Deep in my heart, I had the most restful peace. Each time I KNEW—somehow, someway—it would come to pass. Once I was confidant what the Lord would do, I allowed the peace of God to rule and act as an umpire!
I hate to repeat myself, but please understand me. I did NOT simply confess my intentions, my dream, until it came to pass. Instead, I confessed and relied on what the Lord promised me and looked for peace. If I am ever in a situation where I am confused and flustered, I stay away from it. Oh hey, if you ever meet one of those high-pressure sales people, you know, the type that says, “Well, you have to choose now, because I can’t promise it will still be here . . .” Have you ever met them? My answer is simply, “Oh well, I guess the answer is no.” If I don’t have time to pray and consider it and seek the peace of my Father, I say, “No.”
Sorry for the little “rabbit trail” I just took. Let’s get back to our study where Paul instructed:
16 Let the Words spoken by Christ (Rhema—the life giving words that he speaks to your heart) have the run of the house . . .
—let let them live in your hearts and make you wise . . .
—as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom in spiritual things,
— and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with his grace in your hearts
17 . . . let every detail of your life—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus . . .
This is something you have to do!!! You can’t just sit back and hope everything will work out right. You must fill your heart with God’s Word and all the Words spoken by Christ to be the boss—the ultimate authority is every area of your life.
Next, we are going to move to Chapter 4, where Paul concludes with some very practical admonitions:
If interested, you can download the entire study of Paul’s letter to the Church in Colossae