By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 NLT
What’s your prerogative? It reminds me of the old song that sang, “It’s my prerogative. I can do what I want to do …” The problem is that’s not how we are created to live. I was looking for a verse to comfort a friend when I came upon Colossians 3:3: “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Death is hard for us. The important phases of grieving and mourning the loss of someone we love and who has loved us well change us. Life is different, moving on without them. Paul wrote to the Colossians to explain the drastic change in life when they chose to follow Jesus. Our earthly prerogative dies, and our new lives in Christ live on to eternity.
Prerogative is an exclusive right, privilege, power, or immunity. Keep those old song lyrics in mind, and try replacing the word prerogative with some of the word’s synonyms: immunity, advantage, birthright, claim, choice, exemption, title, authority, and liberty. It begs us to consider what our prerogative really is! The Voice paraphrase of Colossians 3:12-14 reads:
“Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together.”
Paul knew society was influencing the Colossians, just as it affects us today. We may be more modern, but the basic temptations to look back and get stuck in our old lives is the same. His confidence came from the life he lived in Christ. Sometimes, the ways of the world are subtle. If we’re not actively pursuing the Truth, we’re libel to trip over our old way of thinking. “Real life” is “a holy way of life:” compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. Love is our prerogative! “For Paul, it isn’t enough just to believe the right things,” the Voice paraphrase notes, “Right belief always produces right living. The gift of salvation demands that we put into practice the character of our King.” The prerogative of love is the prerogative of Christ, through whom our real lives are hidden in God. The ESV Global Study Bible notes, “Paul uses Isaiah and the Psalm to express the security of believers as they trust in Christ:”
- Isaiah 49:2: “…He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand ….”
- Psalm 27:5-6: “For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music.”
- Psalm 31:19-20: “How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hid them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.”
The Greek word for “hidden” is krupto, meaning to hide, conceal, to be hidden; escape notice; to conceal that it may not become known. Our old lives are dead: old reputations, perspectives, and habits die hard, as they say. Our new lives are hidden with Christ in God. “Hidden means ‘concealed and safe. ‘” the NLT Life Application Bible notes, “This not only ensures our future hope but also gives us security right now. Our service and good works do not earn our salvation, but they flow out because of our salvation. This confidence helps us not to worry about ourselves and to be free to help others.” When we realize the trajectory of our lives in Christ, it changes how we live them. Our perspective …our prerogative …changes. Love begins to flow out of us as a natural product of our new life in Christ. We no longer live “to do what we want to do,” but to serve others as we were created to.
Society plagues our desire to live our new lives in Christ to the full. It’s hard to move on without loved ones who have passed. The people I miss the most are the ones who left a significant mark on my life. I loved them because they loved me so well! Our old selves did not love us well. We don’t have to mourn or grieve the death of our old selves before Christ. It can be hard not to get stuck missing people and challenging to figure out how to take those first new steps of life without them because it will never be the same without them. Our old habits also die hard. They threaten to creep back in and tempt us to think that life was somehow better in our old lives. But it’s the same lie God’s ancient people faced when they complained about the lack of food compared to their lives as enslaved people back in Egypt. It’s nonsensical. The old life is gone. New life has come. Colossians 3:4 says,
“And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
The word revealed makes me think of the prerogative …perspective. It’s important to stay focused on living each day to the fullest, with full anticipation for the hope to come with Jesus in heaven for eternity. “Their life is not drawn from, nor controlled by, forces from below, and it is hidden – and therefore secure – with Christ in God. He is life,” the Moody Bible Commentary explains, “At His return Christ Jesus will be revealed, not in humility and suffering, but with glory. Because believers are so intimately joined with Christ, His future glory means their glory also.” Christ followers can look forward to being united in heaven. Goodbyes on this earth, as devastating as they are to us, are temporary for all who embrace Jesus as their Savior. He will return, and we will share in His glory in our new lives hidden with Him in God.
Father, Help me today to embrace my new life in Christ fully. I celebrate the death of my old self and walk in my new life fully and faithfully. Thank You for my salvation, God. Thank You for pursuing me with Your comfort, encouragement, and love. Teach me how to live with love as my prerogative all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Martin Herzog
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.
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These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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