A Personal Life Verse for a Corporate Context

It’s a verse which, if I am honest with myself (and I try to be), I most often apply out of context.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

(Colossians 3:17 ESV)

Wanna a life verse? Thinking this is a good one. A broad, all-encompassing principle to order everything under? This fits the bill. But, if I’m reading this correctly, it’s not targeted at you, the individual, but targeted at you, the church. Sure, it can be applied at an individual level, but I’m thinking it was intended to be obeyed in a corporate context.

Colossians 3 starts with the individual, everyone who “have been raised with Christ” (3:1). Exhorted to seek things above (3:1), set their minds on things above (3:2), and to put on the new self from above “renewed in knowledge and after the image of its creator” (3:10). But then Paul shifts from the you who are “hidden with Christ in God” to the you who are “God’s chosen ones, holy, and beloved” and are to put on “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another” (3:12).

The you who are to be “forgiving one another” (3:13). The you who are to “put on love” so that you may be bound together in perfect harmony (3:14). The you who are to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” because He has called you in “one body” (3:15). The you who are to be thankful as the word dwells in you, even as you teach and admonish “one another” by “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (3:16). So, concludes Paul:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

An individualized culture will prioritize individual rights and behaviors. A people who celebrate independence can be a people for whom it’s an upward push to embrace dependence on others. Where selfies occupy millions and millions and millions of bytes of computer storage, prioritizing “one another” activities and behaviors may not come natural. But the church is to be counter-cultural and supernatural.

While each is a born again believer, all are members of a body. All are members of a family. Expected to live as a family, function as a body, and in whatever you do, as a church, it’s all done in the name of the Son, with thanksgiving to the Father.

More than worthy of a personal life verse. But I need to beware of failing to practice it in a corporate context. ‘Cause it’s not about me, but about He.

Because of grace. For His glory.

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