In college I had a third shift job, 11 to 7 am, which wasn’t an ideal job for me. As many of you may know, I’m not a night owl, and wasn’t then either. But it was a good job, good pay for a college student and everyone I worked with was in the union, so for every 30 minutes I worked, I got 30 minutes off, which I used to study. It was an easy job, but required attention to detail, which is why they considered it worthy of being, on 30 minutes and off 30 minutes type of work.
The job was for a television manufacturing plant, back when the TVs were really heavy and had a picture tube in them. Every TV made at that plant at one point bottlenecked into my department where I would take the TV screen off the conveyer belt and attach it to the back of the TV tube with a special glue called “frit.” This glue was put on automatically by another machine, but my job was to smooth the start of where the glue went on to the end of where the machine would leave off with a metal spatula. I know, didn’t sound like a ton of work, but occasionally the machine wouldn’t fully complete the seal and someone (me) had to visually inspect it sealed properly.
Immediately after my station, where the top and the bottom were put in place with frit, it would go into a chamber to be “fired,” or heated. That firing process would suck the top and the bottom together and bond it permanently and perfectly. If I did my job correctly, the firing process would prove it. If not, a large explosion would occur and destroy the whole unit, not to mention it was extremely dangerous.
That frit, applied by heat brought the two surfaces together, permanently bound where they met. There was little to no chance that where the two were bound together, they would ever be separated at that exact location.
God wants us to be brought that close together, perfectly bonded with Him, and with each other.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:12-14 KJV
The last few devotionals have focused on earlier verses filled with strong admonitions for our behavior, but this one Paul says is beyond all the others. Sounds important!
Paul said, “put on” and “put off” before in the previous verses, but in the Greek he simply says “beyond all the things I have told you, the agape kind of love is the bond which is of perfect unity.”
The word “agape” (love) the readers would have already seen used in reference to the kind of love God has demonstrated towards us in the sacrifice of His Son. This love is deep, it is profound, and it is the love that transcends any other type of love. It has been demonstrated for us so that we could demonstrate it towards others. We have a template and example for this love, and it leads to harmony, agreement, and unity.
Taking this type of love and applying it to others defies everything the enemy tries to throw at us in relationships: anger, resentment, jealousy, revenge… the list goes on and on. The enemy’s plan is to divide us and God’s plan bonds us together permanently.
Sometimes, after a long sermon, I will tell people… “If you don’t remember anything else I’ve said…”. Perhaps this is along the lines of what Paul was thinking as he wrote this verse. Frequently we are told, love is the most important thing we ought to remember. Love seems to solve all of life’s most difficult challenges, questions, and problems.
The Bible is filled with examples of how love saves the day. Perhaps it’s time we give love, agape love a chance to bring us together, bind us in such a way that we will never be divided from Him or one another.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
President / CEO
April 5, 2022