The Colossians check-list

So I am in the restaurant with my husband and he’s helping me learn the beginning verses of Colossians 3. I am at the 8th verse

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these:

  • anger,
  • rage,
  • malice,
  • slander,
  • and filthy language from your lips.

I learned from a Kenyan woman, Grace Imathieu, about the great “but now’s” of Scripture. I posted this on April 11 if this sounds familiar to you. With thousands in attendance at the World Methodist Conference in Brighton, England in 2000, Grace impressed on me how critical these two words are in Scripture. “But now” alerts us that a change has occurred, that things aren’t the way that they were. Grace said the “but now” frees us from our history. It tells us the past is no longer in effect. It cannot be our judge, or our standard or even our life map anymore because something new has come and changed all the rules. Paul, in Colossians, was referring to our lives after Christ. He says but now Christ has come, the rules have changed and our lives have to show we have been made new. He says, “You used to walk in these ways [the ways of the world], …but now…

Well, I was meditating on these powerful words when I left the restaurant. I left the parking lot and drove up an alley to get to the main road. Halfway down the one-way alley there was a dump truck with a cement mixer bowl in it. The truck was blocking the road. I had no way to get around it or out of the alley. The man saw me and did not pull over into the open area in front of his garage. Instead he got out his hose and power washer, fork lifted the bowl out of the dump truck and proceeded to wash the bowl. I turned off my car engine and dialed 911. I asked if they could send someone of authority to Market and Lincoln as I could not move down the street. They took my information over the phone and said they’d send someone out. I sat there 20 minutes and no one came to move the guy or guide me back out of the alley legally. I re-called the control center and they said the classic, “Someone is on the way.” Ten more minutes went by and the guy had finished his power washing, fork-lifted the cement mixing bowl back into the dump truck and took off. I followed him out of the alley.

I spent the time I had been waiting going over Colossians 3:1-8, repeating over and over again rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Funny how rage was in that list. I think rage was the feeling I was trying to ignore, but it clung to the edges of my being with greater force as the minutes accumulated, but I didn’t get out of my car and I didn’t scratch the guy’s eyes out. I kept the feelings at bay and continued to speak the word, and by doing so the Word came to me. I drove away and was quite calm. THEN the second shoe dropped. I got a call from the police on my cell phone. They had just gotten to Market and Lincoln and there was nothing there. I told them they had waited just long enough to let the guy finish his power washing and drive away. They said to me, “Well, thanks for calling us back!” They hung up before they could hear me say, “I did call back.”

This was a tough one, Dear Readers, but I had to let it go. It’s like, if someone wants to powder her nose and apply mascara at the ATM after she withdraws her money, and keep everyone wanting to use the ATM waiting while she does it, what does one do? And how about when someone checks out 30 grocery items at the 15 items or less register? It’s all the same. Acting foolish pales in the face of a tsunami or starvation or the abuse of a child, and I only have so much energy so I choose to choose my battles carefully.

Trusting in the Lord for grace and wisdom,

Dawn

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6 comments on “The Colossians check-list

  1. I, too, had heard the significance of the “but now’s” in Scripture. Some are so wonderful — the ones that tell me of all that was done for me through Chrst. It’s the ones that tell me the desired effects this should have on my life — THOSE “but now’s” seem more sobering and act as “fruit checkers” in my life. Do I really display this type of character when in the boiling pot of real life????

    I love what you said, Dawn, about choosing your battles. It’s amazing how obsessive we can become on little things — whether it be fear, anger, anxiety, rage, etc., we can blow it up even beyond it’s real size. I remember having a dear friend years ago. She was old enough to be my mother, and had recently been widowed. She would have these times of anxiety — blown up into real panic. I taught her to ask herself constantly, “Is this a biggie?” And to rate the “problem” from a 1 – 10 and to give it only that much of her emotional attention and no more. This also acted as a mirror to ME as there were different areas in my only life where I was NOT living in the “But now’s” of Scriptures. This was so good for me today, Dawn. I will confess I laid awake most of the night stirring up muddy waters of frustration and finding the muck of anger coming up over me. My reading today will take me to Col. 3!!! Thank you!

  2. Dear Cora,

    I love how you were able to help your friend by scaling the emotions she was experiencing. Interesting. I’m also glad you appreciated the ending about choosing my battles because I was really having trouble knowing how to end. I was perusing the web for a picture of a truck blocking traffic and I got on a hurricane hunter web site. It had horrible live pictures of people losing everything and bridges being blown apart and floods swallowing up whole landscapes. All of a sudden my waiting for ANYTHING seemed really petty and so I ended with that. He saved me from my pettiness, again.

    Love that you read me, Cora. I am so much richer because you pass by,
    Dawn

  3. That would have been a very trying situation. I am surprised at the gall of the truck driver. I, too, like the way you chose to ‘rate’ the battle. I know I can sure get sidetracked, at times, by skirmishes rather than full-blown battles. Such a tough challenge, sometimes, to learn how to hold one’s own in a healthy way yet to know when to let go. Thank you for taking the time to write such helpful, insightful posts, especially in light of your already full life!

  4. You are always so kind. I write to clarify my thinking and get feedback from some of the world’s greatest minds. Those in this community are those minds,

    Thanks for being one of them,
    Dawn

    • Oh, Jennifer, the committing of the book of Colossians is quite a colossal task, is it not? The words, however, once taken in, can yield so much within us and for others outside us if we live them. It has been quite a journey. I’m so glad you left this post that takes me way back to the time of the but now.

      Dawn

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