A Quick Look: Colossians 3:12-15
Really Read It: Galatians 1:1-24, Colossians 3:1-22
Memorize: Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Little Red Riding Hood is older than Christopher Columbus. She is probably more famous too. Before 1697 her story was not written down, she didn’t wear a Red Riding Hood, and she always lost. The wolf won. He got to eat the grandmother and the girl with no fear of a woodcutter attack. During the 1700’s she had her red hood and she got to be in a lot of books, but she still died every time. Little Red Riding Hood finally learned how to win the wolf’s game in the 1800’s. She has been winning and the wolf has been dieing ever since. But now it is the wolf’s turn again. It’s only fair right?
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a village near the forest. Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in the village called her Little Red Riding Hood.
One morning, Little Red Riding Hood asked her mother if she could go to visit her grandmother as it had been awhile since they'd seen each other.
"That's a good idea," her mother said. So they packed a nice basket for Little Red Riding Hood to take to her grandmother.
When the basket was ready, the little girl put on her red cloak and kissed her mother goodbye.
"Remember, go straight to Grandma's house," her mother cautioned. "Don't dawdle along the way and please don't talk to strangers! The woods are dangerous."
"Don't worry, Mom," said Little Red Riding Hood, "I'll be careful."
But when Little Red Riding Hood came to the place where the path went two ways, she noticed some lovely flowers in the woods. She picked a few, watched the butterflies flit about for awhile, listened to the frogs croaking and then picked a few more.
Little Red Riding Hood was enjoying the warm summer day so much, that she didn't notice a dark shadow approaching out of the forest behind her.
Suddenly, the wolf appeared beside her.
"What are you doing out here, little girl?" the wolf asked in a voice as friendly as he could muster.
"I'm on my way to see my Grandma who lives through the forest, near the brook," Little Red Riding Hood replied.
“Oh I know just the place,” said the wolf. “That’s quite a long journey for nothing more than a dull visit with an old lady. But this path is shorter and easier, and it is so much more fun. If you come with me we could do all sorts of things that your strict mother and grandmother never let you try.”
“That does sound like fun,” said Little Red Riding Hood. “But I don’t think my mother would like it very much.”
“Of course not. Didn’t I just say that we would do things that your mother hates? But I’ll give you a bit of watermelon chewing gum.”
“Watermelon! How wonderful. To think, the melons in my grandmother’s garden haven’t even begun to ripen. I do think that I would like to see where your path leads.”
“There is nothing good at the end of the path,” the wolf admitted. “But we’ll have lots of fun along the way.”
With that the wolf held out his arm for Little Red Riding Hood and they started down the other path.
A woodcutter found Little Red Riding Hood’s Red Riding Hood and an empty basket in the woods. He sold them at his garage sale, but Little Red Riding Hood’s family never saw Little Red Riding Hood again.
Isn’t that a terrible story?
But it is the story of many Christians who start out on the right path and change in the middle. Paul wrote a letter to people in a city called Galatia. Their story was the same as this sad Little Red Riding Hood story. They started on the right path, living for Jesus, loving God with all of their hearts, worshiping with strength, living by the Holy Spirit, running a good race. But they stopped. They switched paths. In Galatians 5:7 Paul asked them, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” And Paul wrote a lot in this letter about their bad path instead of life led by the Holy Spirit, but he wrote another letter that tells even more about staying on the right path.
You can’t follow a list of rules to get into heaven, but I am going to write a list of things to do to stay on the right path. This list comes from Colossians 3.
- Set your mind on things above. You can set the TV to the cartoon network so that the ONLY thing that shows up is a cartoon. What if you could set your mind the same way? Only think about Jesus and His Kingdom. Can you set your mind on just one thing? Can you set your mind on the right thing?
- Put off anger, hate, and bad words. Put off is the same as taking off. If a goose lays an egg while it is flying over you, you will take off your egged jacket. Or you can think of it like taking out the trash. Get the gross, stinking junk out of your house.
- Put on a new person. Put on mercy, kindness, humility, and love. Put on is the same as putting on clothes, and unless you have goose egg smeared all over your clothes, you keep your clothes on all the time. Keep these things on.
After you have set, put off, and put on, let the peace of God rule in your heart. The word “let” seems like you don’t have to do anything, but if the peace of God is going to rule, you have to stop ruling.
That will keep you on the right path, running a good race. No big bad wolf will cut in on you.