Thirty Days of Bible Study for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 16: Holy Living

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As we read the third chapter of Colossians, Paul reminds us of our position in Christ. We’ve been raised with Christ; that’s because we died with Him. So the sins of our old natures need to die, too. We need to put off the sins that we walked in before Jesus saved us. And we need to put on the new garments that Christ won for us on the cross. We are to be like Him — compassionate, humble, forgiving.

We’re to be like Him, even at home — the place where we feel most free to be ourselves — and in the work place. That’s where our study takes us today.

Assignment: Read Colossians 3:18-4:1. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and then, in your notes, divide a page into four columns. Starting at the left, label these columns “Person”, “Do”, “Don’t Do”, and “Why”. As you read this portion of Colossians 3, fill in the chart you have made. List the person being addressed, what he or she is told to do or not do, and why.

For instance, verse 18 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

In your chart, write:

  • “Wives” in the Person column
  • “Submit to own husband” in the Do column
  • Nothing in the Don’t column (no negative commands are given)
  • “As is fitting in the Lord” in the Why column

Continue to do this as you read the rest of Chapter 3 and the first verse of Chapter 4. Do your best to put each phrase somewhere in the chart, but don’t worry if it’s not always completely obvious which column is appropriate. This is just a tool to help you think and observe. You should be able to list six different general groups of people in the “Person” column, along with the corresponding commands given to them.

You should then be able to organize the six categories of people into three pairs. For example, husbands and wives are a pair. Each depends on the other. A woman is not a wife without a husband. A man is not a husband until he marries a wife. Draw a line that joins “husbands” and “wives” on your chart. (You might want to draw a line connecting their verses in your Bible, too.) Then draw lines to join the other two pairs.

Take some time to study your chart.

  • What common factor exists in each relationship?
  • Notice how both people in each relationship are instructed to behave. What sort of balance has God built into each relationship?
  • What are those in authority encouraged to do or not do?
  • What should motivate those who are under authority?
  • What can you learn from this list? Most of the roles can be thought of in more general terms that apply to each of our lives.

For instance, mothers should also heed the command given to fathers. Employees and wives serving in the home can learn from Paul’s instructions to slaves. (Even though these people are not in slave-master relationships, they do have the responsibility of furthering the purposes and goals of those over them.)

Write down any of the following roles that you have:

  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Daughter  (and daughter-in-law, granddaughter, step-daughter, etc.)
  • Worker (in the daily tasks you perform at home, plus any responsibilities and paid employment you may have outside the home)
  • Overseer (managing your own household, overseeing children’s chores and schoolwork, any other authority roles you have)

Prayerfully review the commands in Colossians 3:18-4:1. What can you learn from these verses to will enable you to better obey God in each of these relationships? Write down specific things you can do.

Then go back and read the first 17 verses of Colossians 3. How do Paul’s words in these earlier verses relate to his instructions to the family and worker relationships later in the chapter? What can you learn from the beginning of the chapter that will equip and strengthen you to obey God in your roles as wife, mother, daughter, worker, and overseer? Add these insights to your notes.

What is one goal you can set to improve at least one of the relationships listed above? Write it down.

Pray over your notes. Ask God to help you obediently serve Him and others  as you seek to apply what you have learned. Post notes around the house or share your commitments with someone else, if that will help you stay focused.


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  1. I almost passed up making the chart of this familar passage, even more familiar after 15 days. Ha. But I am glad I did. Sorting out the Do’s Don’ts and Why’s. I went back up the chart to look at where my responsibilites fell. Since I do not work outside of the home – I am submissive to my husband – and play an active part in giving my children worthwhile directives to obey.
    I live in home with a loving kind husband, so the Submissive part has always been easy. He is so great with the loving part and enjoys the way I keep our home. Because of the tools that we had when they were younger from Doorposts – and our consistency – Obedience is not our struggle in our home. The boys may be forgetful or undisciplined – but always immediately obedient.
    So – Looking at the chart – my days are pretty stress free .

    Then I looked at all of the items that the man would have to deal with – and – my hubby’s job requires him to constantly remember that he works for Christ and not Man. He has quite the list to keep in order, by word, deed, heart.

    I talked to him this morning – thanking him for how much he gives to the boys and I and how easy he has made my life. I told him how much more I will be praying for him today as he has circumstances that makes him dig deep to the Lord for each of these. Loving me – and being kind to the boys – the best part of his day.
    Anyways – it was a good chat – and as always – the Word will not come back void, and even a very familiar passage will bring growth.

    I encourage others – who think they ‘know’ these verses by now -to continue to take these challenges!

  2. This was a great tool – thank you! Speaking of relationships…do you have any counsel and/or resources for adult children facing trials with parents/in-laws over education and parenting choices of their children? We have some family members who are not believers and are not in agreement with homeschooling and it’s causing tension. I acknowledge that even grown children are to still honor their parents, yet how far do you go to make peace with an unbelieving relative who doesn’t agree with what you’re doing even though the choices you’re making are not bad, just different than what they want, while making sure you’re honoring Christ first? Thanks in advance for any help!

    • Kim, I think that’s a question many people face. It seems like the key in this type of situation, is to honor parents with our speech and attitudes, to not speak ill of them to others, to not grumble or criticize them (especially in front of our children), and to trust that they have our best interests and the best of interests of our children in mind, even when they don’t agree with what we are doing. We aren’t obligated to make the same choices they would, or the same choices they would like us to make, but we are obligated to “put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.” (You’ve probably read that verse a few times over the pat couple weeks. :-))

  3. Thank you Pam for your response! That was helpful and encouraging. I have definitely been reading that verse several times and I actually selected the word ‘chosen’ for my word study on day 17. It was really a great study. One of my commentaries said this about that part of the verse and it was so convicting:

    “Those who are the elect of God, holy and beloved, ought to be lowly and compassionate towards all. While in this world, where there is so much corruption in our hearts, quarrels will sometimes arise. But it is our duty to forgive one another, imitating the forgiveness through which we are saved.”

    This study has been very timely as I have been dealing with relational struggles recently. I love how God’s word meets us exactly where we are…but the Lord doesn’t leave us there 🙂 Thank you again!