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15. Living as a Christian at home

The Master's instructions about everyday life. (Colossians 3:1-17)

In this section on Everyday Life we will see that Christianity affects the whole life of the Christian. Being a true Christian will affect you as a child, a husband, a wife, an employer, an employee, a neighbour, a friend and a citizen. The Bible shows us God’s ideal for these roles we are called to play and it also shows us how we can be what God wants us to be.

The Christian family teaching is given in Ephesians 5:22-6:4. It is set in the context of everyday life. Paul urges us to ‘live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ from God (4:1). The subsequent passage points

out the need for a leaving of the old - traditional? - way of life and a learning of the new

Christian way (vv.22-24). The outstanding quality evident to everyone around us should

be genuine, Christlike love (5:1-2). We should live in the light, allowing

God to expose our sin so that we can deal with it through our Saviour

(vv.8-13). We should become strong in the Lord and His power (6:10).

Be careful not to divide your life into compartments. Do not say:

‘Christianity affects me here, but not there.’ Try and live a spiritually-minded

life, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

In Colossians 3:1-17 Paul writes that the Christian is to ‘clothe himself’

with various things. In the mornings when you get dressed, the clothes

from your wardrobe cupboard do not jump out and on to your back! You

have to deliberately choose what you are going to wear and then you have

to dress yourself in those clothes.

Having listed a variety of unholy things that every Christian should avoid,

Paul goes on to stress positive Christian qualities (vs12-14).

1. Compassion is that which moved our Lord Jesus into action on

behalf of other people. It is love expressed without using words.

2. Kindness always acts generously and helpfully in love. It is a fruit

of God’s Holy Spirit and never expects anything in return for what

it does.

3. Humility is best described as being the opposite of pride. Where

pride would seek its own way, humility seeks to listen and to adapt

to other people. Where pride gets angry, humility becomes anxious

for the well-being of all other parties.

4. Gentleness should not be confused with weakness. It takes

enormous strength and self-control to be constantly thinking of

the other person before yourself.

5. Patience is a lesson with no end. It involves a quiet and considerate

waiting with absolute confidence in God.

6. Forbearance encourages us to keep in mind that the other person is

also seeking to please God. They are not any more or less perfect

than we are! God is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus

Christ, but it is taking time. Give time to others too. It is sad that

we often make allowances for weaknesses in our own lives that we

will not tolerate in other people.

7. Forgiveness towards one another means exactly what it says. The

maturing Christian will learn to forgive even when he is let down,

when he is misunderstood, when he is hurt, or when he is wrongly


In Colossians 3:15-17 we are reminded to seek the peace of Christ within

and around us. We should always bring God’s word to bear on every

situation. Three times we are urged to ‘be thankful’. Christianity is a life

to be lived before God day by day. Thank God that He helps us by His

Holy Spirit. He makes every day count in our Christian education.

Let Christ be at home in your heart and He will be at the heart of your


Other scriptures to read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Ephesians 4:21-32.

Discussion guide on ‘Living as a Christian at home’

Reading Colossians 3:1-17.

1. What do you understand by the phrase, “Try and live a spiritually-minded

life twenty-four hours a day seven days a week”?

Include Ephesians 4:1 in your discussion.

2. Explain the two sides of the Christian life, from Ephesians 4:22-24.

Since the key to this is “a new attitude of mind”, suggest ways of

filling your mind with God’s way for you to live.

3. Any change in your life may bring conflict with others close to you.

How can you best avoid these awkward moments? You cannot

control what other people do, so what can you do to honour the

Lord Jesus? Consider Ephesians 5:24,25,32; 5:1,9,10.

4. Now you have become a Christian, how much of your life does God

want to change for the better? How will God do it?

5. Why do you think Paul writes three times about “thankfulness” in

Colossians 3:15-17? The Greek words he uses both include the

meaning of “grace that is acceptable”, “free grace”, and the words

are from the same root as the title used for the communion or

Eucharist services in Christian churches, remembering what Jesus

has done for us all.

6. Our homes are our biggest place, in terms of time, for our

Christian ministry. Look up the following verses to see the Bible’s

meaning for the positive qualities listed in Colossians 3:12-14.

Give your own short definition for each one:

• Compassion – Matthew 9:36; 15:32

• Kindness – 2 Timothy 2:24; Galatians 5:22

• Humility – 1 Peter 3:8-9; 5:5-6

• Gentleness – Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 2:6-8

• Patience – James 5:10; Galatians 5:22

• Forbearance – Romans 3:25; Ephesians 4:1-3

• Forgiveness – Matthew 6:12; 18:21-22.

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