God miraculously delivered the people of Israel from captivity in Egypt and brought them into the land He had promised to give them. Despite this, they repeatedly turned away from Him; and God had to discipline them as a result. In summarizing this, today’s One Year Bible readings in Jeremiah 8:8–9:26 and Psalms 78:32-55 make it clear that God disciplined His people because He loved them. He longed for them to live in accordance with the instructions He had given them.
The reading in Colossians 3:1-17 contains instructions in holy living for us today. In contrast with the hundreds of detailed instructions God had given Israel, many of which dealt with external behavior, the instructions in Colossians primarily focus inwardly — on the heart. To be sure, living in accordance with these instructions will affect our external behavior, but we must keep in mind that “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). God knows what’s going on in our heart!
And just as with the people of Israel, God longs for us to live in accordance with the instructions He has given us. And God still disciplines His children. But let us strive to live for Him, not to escape His discipline, but because we love Him and want to please and glorify Him.
A gospel chorus expresses it in this way:
After all He’s done for me, After all He’s done for me, How can I do less Than give Him my best, And live for Him completely, After all He’s done for me! Betsy Daasvand, Wendell P. Loveless; © 1940, 1968 Hope Publishing Co.