God’s love is patient and kind, never jealous or proud or self-seeking. God’s love protects and trusts and hopes. And when we catch that love, we begin to love in the same way. In Colossians 3:14 Paul offers the capstone to the entire chapter so far. We who have set our minds on things above, whose life is secure and hidden with Jesus, who have put our old, sinful self to death, who live in unity with people who are different from us, who have clothed ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, are now to put on the final garment: love.

Love is the final piece of clothing that makes it all work together. God dresses us in his unfailing, ruthless love. Now we can love as God loves. My neighbors don’t merit my love by anything they do. My love for my neighbors is a response to the reality that they are a gift of God. If Jesus has died for my neighbors and taken away their guilt (as he has mine), then I must learn to see them as they look in the eyes of my Father. The world’s word about my neighbors—that they must earn the right to be loved—is false. God’s word about my neighbors is true: they are sacred treasures.

Soul Training

Read John 3:16-17 as a passage that explains how God feels about your neighbors. How should this shape the way we view our neighbors today?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV)
Taken from Hidden in Christ by James Bryan Smith. Copyright(c) 2013 by James Bryan Smith. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Intervarsity Press