Friday, May 24, 2019
My body is a wonderful thing. It’s not any more wonderful than yours, but it is wonderful. It doesn’t always look wonderful, feel wonderful, or work wonderfully, but it is a wonder. There are 206 bones protected by cartilage and connected with over 600 muscles and ligaments to form a functioning skeleton. Over the top of this incredible living machine is the body’s largest organ called skin. It holds everything together and has some incredible functions. Let’s use skin as a metaphor for the spiritual characteristic of love.
Colossians 3:14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Love holds together all the virtues we have been studying in Colossians 3:12-13, much like skin does on our body.
The outer layer of skin is called the epidermis, and holds everything together while protecting everything inside from damage. It resists water and dirt and is equipped with a UV protection system that is designed to keep us from getting burned. It is constantly being renewed. Every day we lose 30,000 – 40,000 skin cells that are replaced by new ones that are constantly growing. Every 2-4 weeks we have a completely renewed layer of skin cells to protect us.
When we allow God’s love to cover all the characteristics of our wonderful spiritual body, it holds them all together so that they can function properly in perfect unity. Love protects us from the dirt of the sinful world, and keeps us from getting burned by people’s actions. Love guards our entire being so that compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, endurance, and forgiveness are all able to work together to accomplish God’s purpose.
The middle layer of skin is called the dermis, and contains the nerve endings so we can touch and feel, the blood vessels which bring nutrients and oxygen to the growing cells, the oil glands which produce sebum so that your skin is waterproof, and the sweat glands which help regulate body temperature. When the oil and the sweat mix on the surface of the skin they make the skin tacky so that we can actually pick things up and accomplish work. Without both working together our skin would be very slippery and we wouldn’t accomplish much.
When love is the covering of our spiritual characteristics we fully empower compassion to work so that we can truly feel the hurts and the joys of people and reach out and touch them in kindness. Love brings us all the food we need to grow so we are constantly being renewed against the toughness of people’s actions and we are able to bear with them. When love anoints us with the oil of the Holy Spirit we are resilient to the attacks of sin. Our emotions are regulated by the water of God’s Word as it brings holy consistency to our responses. When the oil of the Holy Spirit mixes with the water of God’s Word it produces the ability to accomplish work for God’s glory.
The third layer of skin is the subcutaneous layer, made up mostly of fat, of which I have too much. It primarily functions as a shock absorber and a heating blanket.
When we get fat on love, the rest of our spiritual characteristics stay warmer and ready for action, and they are protected from the shocks of other people’s attacks on us.
As I said, our bodies are wonderful, and our spiritual bodies are equally magnificent. Love is what holds all the spiritual characteristics together in perfect unity. What is this love like? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for a description.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Now, let’s put that kind of love on as the skin of our lives, and let the world see the wonder of a spiritual body.