Yesterday we ended with Paul showing us who we are in our new life Christ. “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” (Col 3:12-13)
Today we look to the next few verses where Paul shows us that love is “an even better way” (1 Cor 12:31). “Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” (Col 3:14-15) Love is the supreme attribute, and supersedes all other attitudes.
From Paul’s perspective, love brings people together and makes their differences compatible. This is what “unity” or “harmony” means: the positive combination of things which are not exactly the same. This does not mean believers are perfect or do not make mistakes. Instead, just as an orchestra or band must play together to make a pleasant sound, love is the song that believers must all play in order to work together in harmony.
We are given many spiritual gifts when we accept Christ as our Savior. According to Scripture, “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). Peter adds, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet 4:8)
In Col 3:12-14, Paul has given eight positive traits which Christians are to emulate. Here, he adds two additional ideals for believers to pursue. “And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15)
First, he calls believers to live in peace. Peace, part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23), is noted in this letter as coming from God our Father (Col 1:2). We receive peace with God through the blood of the cross (Col 1:20). It is to “rule” in our hearts, meaning it should be in charge of how we live. Believers are not called to live in violence or squabbles among each other, but in peace.
It’s important to remember the context of this statement. Paul is not referring to peace in the sense of “happy feelings.” In prior verses, he was discussing the need for Christians to tolerate, love, and support each other. In this verse, after mentioning peace, Paul again speaks of the unity Christians have. With Christ as the head, we are all part of a spiritual “body,” which is the church. Peace within the body requires peace between its parts. Every group of believers will experience internal conflict at times, but seeking peace will help us resolve issues in the context of Christian love.
The second trait Paul mentions in this verse is simple: an attitude of thanksgiving. Paul mentions thanks multiple times in this letter, showing the importance of gratitude in the Christian life (Col 1:3; 2:7; 3:16-17; 4:2). An attitude of gratitude is important because it is God’s will for us. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:16-18)
As we give thanks no matter the circumstances that our Lord is with us and goes before us, we can be thankful for His protection, love and guidance. Not only are we to be thankful for His presence, we are to be persistent in prayer so that we stay attuned to what He will show us. “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” (Rom 12:12) So let’s remember today to “put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” (Col 3:14-15)