Blog post series:
On March 16, I began a new series about renewing our walk with God as He renews the earth in the spring.
Here’s a link to the first in the series: Renew Your Walk with God This Spring
In it I suggested we start a new journal or notebook to log:
(1) our physical walks and (2) the characteristics of Jesus we notice as we read the Bible.
Slip on your comfortable shoes and join me on our ongoing path. We will consider ways to renew our walk with God this spring by prayer, study, and imitating God.
As we “walk” notice the way God dresses the trees with bright green leaves. They dance in the breeze and seem to shout, “We’re alive. Welcome to spring.”
Don’t you love the way God transforms winter’s drab grays and browns with brushstrokes of freshness and new life? Call the vibrant colors lime, chartreuse, spring green, neon green, or any other name on the color spectrum between blue and yellow.
The new shades represent vitality, excitement, and the beginning of a new season. Some of the greens even have a dash of cheery yellow. If we ever needed God’s cheer and freshness, my friend, it’s this year following the doldrums of a COVID winter.
Maybe you’ll identify with the observations of Carrie, a park ranger at the Catoctin Mountain Park in northern Maryland as she described spring outings:
It’s that sense of escape, like animals coming out of hibernation. We as humans are escaping the cabin fever, we’re wanting to get out on the trails and really discover the changes. 1
How about you? Perhaps the hibernation of COVID clouded your heart with discouragement, frustration, and preoccupation with the fear of illness or social distancing.
Or maybe you remained positive but long for the freedom of spring and increased closeness to the Lord.
Let’s leave winter behind and explore the beautiful new greens that bedazzle our view while we ask God to examine our hearts. If we belong to Him, He can dress our hearts in the fashion of new life in Christ.
First, a little about those light green spring colors …
Editor Catherine Meyers of insidescience.org shares the way scientists explain the shades of early spring:
Young leaflets’ chloroplasts — the part of the plant that contains the green pigment chlorophyll — are still developing, so the leaves tend to be lighter. 2
Chlorophyll absorbs the sunlight plants need to manufacture energy for growth. Likewise, our spiritual lives require light–God’s light–which shines into our hearts as we pray. When we study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit teaches us more about our walk with Christ.
We simply cannot manufacture renewal with our own energy sources. God is responsible for heart changes.
It is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.Philippians 2:13 NASB
That’s freeing. I cannot change my own heart, but I’m responsible for studying the Bible, praying for transformation (Romans 12:2), and imitating Him.
Let’s begin our spring study with verse 12 of this passage:
Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also.In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.Colossians 3:12-14 NASB
When spring arrives, the trees “put on” their new green foliage. At the same time, we replace heavy jackets, turtlenecks, and dark colors with light-weight sweaters, short-sleeved shirts, and pastels.
In Colossians, Paul wrote the imperative statement, “Put on.” Christians are to “dress themselves” in the qualities Jesus demonstrated rather than in sinful attitudes.
Imagine reaching into your closet and trying on a garment labeled “compassion,” or “kindness.” What would they look like? How would they fit?
The life of Jesus provides examples.
Jesus demonstrated compassion by His kind actions.
He felt pity, care, and concern for people in need. He healed a leper, gave sight to the blind, and fed hungry people. His heart filled with compassion for sinful man (Matthew 9:35-36, Luke 19:41-42) and He preached good news (Luke 4:43). He even spent time with Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector. Jesus told him, “Hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5).
Jesus put compassion into action by reaching out to others with acts of kindness. Maybe we could define kindness as “compassion in action.”
Jesus put compassion into action by reaching out to others with acts of kindness. Maybe we could define compassion as love in action. Click To Tweet
After asking God to renew our hearts and dress them with compassion and kindness, how can we show the compassion and kindness of Jesus to others? Here are some suggestions.
Showing Compassion and Kindness This Spring
For neighbors or friends who may be unable to complete required home maintenance:
- Offer to clean a flower bed for an elderly neighbor, and then refill it with straw.
- Create an attractive gift certificate “good for” three hours of outdoor work.
- Clean porch or deck furniture and offer to pressure wash if you’re able.
- Plant flowers in deck or porch containers.
- Enlist a teenager or college student to help you.
For elderly friends and church members (Consider COVID protocols.):
- Take someone for a ride around town to see spring’s beauty.
- Call to schedule a patio visit with someone in a healthcare facility.
- Offer to conduct a devotional at a facility.
- Call those who are elderly or incapacitated and offer to run errands.
For new neighbors or graduating seniors:
- Create a special greeting card and share a favorite family dessert.
- Plan a socially distanced cookout or lemonade and cookie snack.
- Share publications from your church and links for online services.
What are additional ways we could show compassion and kindness as Jesus did? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Next time, we’ll consider more of this passage as we seek to imitate Christ.
An excellent resource for renewing your walk with God:
If you’re looking for a devotional book to accompany your spring walk with God, consider Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible by Lori Hatcher. It’s one of my favorites.
Here’s a link: Refresh Your Faith
1 Meyers, Catherine, editor. “Spring Green: Why Do New Leaves Have a Lighter Color?” American Institute of Physics, accessed April 7, 2021, https://www.insidescience.org/news/spring-green-why-do-new-leaves-have-lighter-color