Whether we’re going to work or to a special occasion like a wedding, we reflect on our wardrobe. Some people choose what they will wear for the day in just a few moments. Others stew over the decision. We’re concerned about how things look together. We wonder, “Will I be too warm or too cold?” We ask, “When was the last time I wore this?” God’s word addresses a different kind of attire. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
These words are an inspiring description of our spiritual clothing.
Compassion: We’re reminded of how Jesus was compassionately drawn toward sheep which were without a shepherd (Mark 6:34).
Kindness: We see how God is kind to all types of people, including the sinful (Luke 6:35).
Humility: We know that God dwells with the humble (Isaiah 57:15).
Gentleness: The gentle (meek) shall inherit the land (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5).
Patience: We exhibit patience with people and circumstances. Patience is God’s message to us about His desire to see people come to faith. “He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
Wearing this kind of clothing will help us to live with one another in forgiveness, bearing the shortcomings of our spiritual family. “…forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Jesus wore the clothes we need to wear. We may dress like Him if we can make His words our words. “‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).
The practice of these virtues results from habits. Hal Urban wrote, “As with our clothes all of our habits are acquired.” In acquiring Godly habits it helps us to live near our role models. People who have been doing it well for a long time help us to do life better. G. K. Chesterton once said, “How do you tell if a stick is straight? By putting it up next to a straight stick.” A person who lives by the scriptures is a straight stick. We should stay close to such people.
The clothing virtues are incomplete without a belt. Love holds our ensemble together. “…put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14). Love motivated our Father to send Jesus into the world. Love motivates us to treat others as we have been treated by God. We’ve been treated with grace and mercy, so we need to take the time to show God’s love to others. As Rick Warren says, “The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”
Consistency is a key quality in our behavior. Can we wear the same spiritual clothing each day? Can we wear this clothing when we’re with everyone we know? George Washington Carver said, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong, because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” Let’s dress as God wants us to dress – every day.
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.