Colossians 3: Model for Christian Behavior

What does it mean to “seek those things which are above”? How do we do that?

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Colossians 3:1–2 Since God is raising you in Christ to a new life, shift your focus from the world’s perceptions to the spiritual realities of Heaven, where Christ holds supreme power and authority. Turn your desires upward, to what God wants for your life, not downward to what society says you should do.
King James
Colossians 3:1–2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

A leopard can’t change his spots. By what means can people adjust their appetites so they like what they once hated and dislike what they once loved?

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Romans 7:17–23 Clearly then, the real “me” desires to do right, but my contrary, fleshly desires are still alive, preventing me from doing the good I know to do. When I find myself doing anything other than what would please the Lord, I’m not doing what I really want, but my sinful nature is still at work. Without exception, every time I know to do good, I face an option to go my own self-serving way. But I find greater pleasure in serving God, which satisfies who I really am. I fight against the foolish thinking that there is any real benefit in the selfish pleasures that would make me a slave to sin.
Colossians 3:2 Turn your desires upward, to what God wants for your life, not downward to what society says you should do.
King James
Romans 7:17–23 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

If our lives are found only with Christ in God, how can what the world wants be of any concern?

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Philippians 3:7 Even so, all that made me feel good about myself back then, I now consider worthless in yielding to what Christ wants to do in my life.
Colossians 3:3 You should be dead to what the world wants, because your life is found only with Christ in God.
1 Timothy 6:9 The desire to be rich is a terrible trap, leading to many foolish and dangerous desires that result in death and destruction.
King James
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

What glories can we experience on Earth as we get to know Christ better?

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Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, you get to experience his glory.
King James
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

What might people value more than God? What kinds of problems does this create?

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Colossians 3:5–6 Therefore, put your self-pleasing desires to death—passions for sex, power, and possessions. Don’t let your desire for earthly things become idols that you worship more than God. In doing what they want, the disobedient earn the wrath of God.
King James
Colossians 3:5–6 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

What can we gain or lose by remembering our past?

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Psalm 143:5 As I remember when you’ve helped me through hard times, I marvel at what you’ve done and think about the greater things that lie ahead as you continue to work in me.
Luke 9:62 “After a man puts his hand to the plow,” Jesus said, “he is not fit for the Kingdom of God if he keeps looking back.”
Philippians 3:13 Friends, I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I know one thing: the past needs to be forgotten so I can focus on doing better in the future.
Colossians 3:7–8 You know what I’m talking about, because you once lived that way. But now you should be shunning such behavior—hatred, anger, vengeance, slander, filthy language, and the like.
King James
Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Colossians 3:7–8 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

After Christians have tried everything they know to do, but they still aren’t the person they think God wants them to be, what else can be done?

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Colossians 3:9–10 Since you are no longer the person you used to be, always be truthful, avoiding all kinds of deception. Strive to be the person God wants you to become, always increasing your knowledge of him so you can be more like him.
King James
Colossians 3:9–10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

In what ways might God be prejudiced?

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Colossians 3:11 Class distinctions don’t exist in Christ. He sees no difference between circumcised Jews and uncircumcised non-Jews, the crude and the cultured, slaves and free.
King James
Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

What can people do to become more gentle, humble, and patient?

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Colossians 3:12 Since you are already part of God’s family, clothe yourselves with kindness and understanding, being gentle, humble, and patient.
King James
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

What makes forgiveness difficult?

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Mark 11:26 “If you do not forgive, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.”
Luke 17:4 “If he offends you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day he turns to you and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Colossians 3:13 Work hard to get along with people, not holding their faults and failures against them. Be as gracious in forgiving others as Christ was in forgiving you.
King James
Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

We are told to love others as Christ loves us. We are also told not to cast our pearls before swine. So where do we draw the line in how far we should go in helping others?

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Matthew 7:6 “Do not give something holy to dogs. They will turn and attack, tearing you to pieces. Do not toss your pearls to pigs. They will only trample them under their feet.
Ephesians 5:2 Love even those who hate you, following Jesus’ example, for he loved so much that he sacrificed his own life, greatly pleasing God.
Colossians 3:14 Above all, clothe yourselves in love, showing even your enemies that you care just as God does, for this is the connection that draws people together.
King James
Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

How can love create a bridge between Christians and their enemies?

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Romans 12:20–21 If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you. Don’t let their evil change you, but use your love to overcome their evil.
Colossians 3:14 Above all, clothe yourselves in love, showing even your enemies that you care just as God does, for this is the connection that draws people together.
King James
Romans 12:20–21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

What is required to “work together as one body?

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1 Corinthians 12:18–20 In order to accomplish his purpose, God determines the function of every member of his body. How strange his body would be if we were all alike. So you see, we are made different to form one well-functioning body.
Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of God prevail in your thoughts and actions as you work together as one body, always thankful.
King James
1 Corinthians 12:18–20 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Where does one look for wisdom?

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Ecclesiastes 7:25 I set a goal for myself to discover what I didn’t know or understand, to search for the truth and gain wisdom in all things. I wanted to know the meaning of life, to define wickedness and stupidity, the difference between insanity and just being foolish.
Colossians 3:16 May you find wisdom in all that Jesus said and did, enriching one another’s lives as you teach and encourage people with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, your hearts expressing gratitude to the Lord.
James 1:5 If you don’t know the truth or how to apply it, then ask God, because he’s eager to help and won’t make you feel stupid.
King James
Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

What is the difference between hymns and spiritual songs?

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Colossians 3:16 May you find wisdom in all that Jesus said and did, enriching one another’s lives as you teach and encourage people with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, your hearts expressing gratitude to the Lord.
King James
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

What does expressing gratitude to the Lord have to do with finding wisdom?

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Colossians 3:16–17 May you find wisdom in all that Jesus said and did, enriching one another’s lives as you teach and encourage people with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, your hearts expressing gratitude to the Lord. Whatever you say or do, let it all be under the direction and authority of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to Father God every step of the way.
King James
Colossians 3:16–17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Ideally, how should wives view their relationship with their husband? What might make that goal difficult?

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Colossians 3:18 Wives, focus on pleasing your husbands as a part of serving the Lord.
King James
Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Ideally, how should husbands view their relationship with their wife? What might make that goal difficult?

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Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, never being harsh toward them.
King James
Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Under what conditions should children do what their parents say?

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Colossians 3:20 Children, always do what your parents tell you, and you will please the Lord as well.
King James
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

How would you define “constructive criticism”?

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Colossians 3:21 Fathers, encourage your children. Avoid provoking them, telling them they can’t, because then they’ll be discouraged and not want to try.
King James
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Under what conditions might encouragement be of little help?

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Colossians 3:21 Fathers, encourage your children. Avoid provoking them, telling them they can’t, because then they’ll be discouraged and not want to try.
King James
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Under what conditions might encouragement be of little help?

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Colossians 3:22 Slaves, do more for your masters than the bare minimum to get by. Seek to please those who have authority over you as part of your service to God.
King James
Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Where does the expression “go the extra mile” come from? What are the best arguments for doing it?

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Matthew 5:41 “If a soldier demands you carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two.”
Matthew 5:48 “Show mercy to others, just as your Father has shown mercy to you.”
Colossians 3:23–24 Whatever you do for people, give your best effort to please the Lord,  knowing that the greatest reward comes from serving him.
King James
Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Colossians 3:23–24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

What is the consequence of doing just enough to get by?

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Colossians 3:25 People who do shoddy work will get no respect.
King James
Colossians 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.