2 May 2015

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

You have probably heard it noted that we are human ‘beings’, not human ‘doings’. There is some important wisdom in this statement, for it is ultimately our character – who we are – that is most important to God. God takes a great interest in our inner life, our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We can be seen to do all the right things externally and even be equipped with valuable spiritual gifts, but unless we attend to aspects of our character we can be living an unbalanced life (note the way love is described in 1 Corinthians 13, for example).

A couple of months ago we memorised together the above verse from Colossians 3:17. This is taken from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, encouraging them to do whatever they do in Jesus’ name and with thanksgiving to God. Clearly Paul is not talking about only the things we do for or with the church, but every facet of our lives. Our family life, our work or school life, our life on and off the field/court each Saturday, the times we find ourselves alone….every moment of every day. At times these areas can be life-giving, while at times they can be life-sapping. How well we respond to these in Jesus’ name is an issue of our character.

Perhaps it would be helpful to confess that I am a work in progress when it comes to this concept. I may be able to tick off all the boxes when it comes to my ‘work’ life done in Jesus’ name, but God is constantly shaping my character in all areas of my life. Daily, hourly, God places opportunities in my path where I might choose to trust Him, or not. There are times I choose poorly and there are times I choose wisely and grow. We are all a work in progress, and if we allow it God will continue to shape our characters until our very last breath.

Tending to our character is an important concept to focus on as we think about our future together over the coming weeks. This new sermon series will help us identify our purpose and some of the needs around us, but it should not come at the expense of continuously allowing God to shape us. As a masterpiece of God, recognise that you are not a finished work. God’s focus is on your heart, so do whatever you can to allow Him to shape you and grow your character to a place of maturity. Along the way, let whatever you do flow out of that, in response to God’s amazing grace.

Rev Matthew Carratt