This morning reading Spurgeon's devotional it really struck me how our relationships are ordered. Responsibility and accountability flow from our relationship with God outward. The oil flows down on the head first, the beard and then on down to the garments.
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory... and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." Colossians 3:1-4, 10 ESV
It is being orienting in right relationship to Jesus that causes me to experience life. He is my life. My renewal is centered in my role as a believer.
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." - Colossians 3:12-15 ESV
As 'believers' we relate to others. Ones we are in a relationship with because we have Christ in common. We are 'Body Members' or corporate believers. Our spiritual life is individual and corporate... it has two aspects.
Then that branches out to wives and husbands. Both relational terms. You can be a man or woman alone. To be a wife or husband there must be another person in the picture.
"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." - Colossians 3:18 ESV
"Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." - Colossians 3:19 ESV
The children and fathers. The marital relationship is a horizontal relation. The parent-child relationship is vertical in time. It begins but one person is always older and the other always younger.
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." - Colossians 3:20 ESV
"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." - Colossians 3:21 ESV
Then we have work. The employee and the manager.
"Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality." - Colossians 3:22-25 ESV
"Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." - Colossians 4:1-2 ESV
Both are framed by what has been spoken of previously. A person is a believer, body member, wife and then a waitress. A young unmarried person is a believer body member, son and then an accountant and so on.
"At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison - that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." - Colossians 4:3-4 ESV
Then church leadership and missionary roles come next.
"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." - Colossians 4:5-6 ESV
Lastly are outsiders, unknown people... be kind, be wise and let grace flow.
Alone we are just individuals. It is our relationship to God that gives us a life. It is our relationships to others that make up our life.
God, Fill us with Your Spirit today. We want to live and not just exist... we want you be glorified in our midst.