Summary: Here are seven attitudes to resolve to have in the new year.
Colossians 3:12-14 WHO I WANT TO BE IN 2003
I think it’s true that people are getting more and more mean and aggressive as time goes on. For example, today, everyone knows what “road rage” means. More and more people are driving aggressively, pushing people on the road who aren’t going as fast as them. Sometimes it surprises me when I see a very aggressive driver, tailgating and swerving in and out of traffic, and the driver turns out to be an older woman who can barely see over the steering wheel. People are getting more and more mean and aggressive as time goes on. If you go to the store this time of the year, and watch the people as they stand in line to return their gifts – many of them will display an attitude of meanness and impatience toward others. Suddenly that Christmas spirit of kindness disappears, and people revert back to their old ways.
That’s why our second lesson for this morning, from Colossians 3, fits perfectly with this time of the year. In a few days, we will be bringing in the new year, and people will be making New Year’s resolutions. What are yours going to be? This is a time of the year when many people try to reinvent themselves. Many people make resolutions relating to their health or fitness, or to their jobs or hobbies. What kind of person do you want to be in 2003? Today, we have a list of seven New Year’s resolutions – seven things you can strive to be in the new year, as people of God.
In our text for today, these resolutions are described as items of clothing. Imagine someone who has an incredibly bad wardrobe. All their shirts are too small, and permanently dirty. Nothing fits. The person looks ridiculous. Perhaps a friend of that person would have the courage to say, “Hey, you have to make a change. Why don’t you make a New Year’s Resolution to buy new clothes?”
God says to many Americans today, “The way you’re treating other people is ridiculous. Here’s how you can change. Here’s how you can start over, just like buying a new set of clothes….”
Look at verse 12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” These are five attitudes you don’t want to leave home without. Compassion is the first one. The opposite of this would be someone who is cold and heartless, someone who is concerned only with himself. Think of the character Scrooge, a man who, for awhile, was too busy balancing his own checkbook to notice the needs of other people. A compassionate person is someone who not only balances his checkbook, but wants to help the people around him. What’s going on with the people at church? What’s going on with my family? What’s going on with the people at work? My neighbors? My friends? Is everything OK? What can I do to help you? “Clothe yourselves with compassion…”
“… and kindness.” Kindness includes not only saying nice things, but doing nice things. Kindness is going above and beyond the call of duty to help someone out. I saw this at the store the other day – a woman’s little child began pulling all the packages of candy and peanuts off the shelf and was throwing them onto the floor. One of the packages burst open and there were M&M’s everywhere. The store clerk came storming down the aisle and said to the woman, “Don’t worry about this, ma’am. I’ll clean it up. You just do your shopping.” Clothe yourselves with kindness…”
“… and humility.” Humility means that you recognize your own weaknesses. You don’t think about how great you are. A few months ago I was at the Holiday Inn, getting something out of our closet back there, and one of the young workers came up to me and talked to me. He found out that I was a pastor, and then he proceeded to tell me about how he was in a Christian rock band, and how talented they were. He told me how he was going to go into the armed forces and earn 3 doctorate degrees. He was very smart, he told me, and the Holiday Inn was lucky to have him as an employee. I smiled to myself as I listened to him talk. He seemed to be a nice enough guy, but he still needed to learn humility. He was really into himself, and didn’t realize how focused he was on his own greatness. Do you know who is described in the Bible as the most humble man on the face of the earth? Moses (Numbers 12:3). I’m sure he recognized his weaknesses very quickly, as he tried to lead 2 million people through the desert. “Clothe yourselves with humility…”