One of the questions people ask in the beginning of a day is, “What shall I wear today?” We dress for occasions, but the Bible tells us there are clothes we should always wear. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
Prayer helps us to clothe ourselves in this way. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say the words, “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our prayer is for our earthly actions to reflect the lifestyle of heaven – we’ll be kind toward all. We also say the words, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Our prayer is a humble request for God to meet our daily needs for survival. We also say the words, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Our prayer is for a compassionate view of those who sin against, knowing that we have been forgiven much. We also say the words, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We need patience to wait upon the Lord and not take matters into our own hands. The evil one presents shortcuts to us in the same manner he offered them to Jesus. We’re not to take shortcuts.
We prepare ourselves to encounter others by wearing these Godly attributes. The impact of my shirt and tie combination is short-lived. But my words will be remembered for a long time. Mother Teresa once observed, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Our kind words should articulate several things. We should express thanks. Appreciation is often water to a dry soul. People are thirsting for our acknowledgement of their actions and efforts. We should also express encouragement. The Biblical role model for us is Barnabas. He encouraged the believers in Jerusalem by selling property and giving the money he received to the Apostles. It would help the needy. Barnabas also encouraged the newly converted Saul by ministering with him. But he also encouraged Saul by defending his new character to the wary Apostles. “He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 9:28) We should also express love. “Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:8)
During this season of Pentecost we remember that God’s Spirit is a presence dwelling within believers. He is working in us and through us. Corrie Ten Boom once wrote: “We are gloves. It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who does the job. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger is filled.” Spiritual clothing frees the Holy Spirit to work through us. This is a change from all the ways that the world dresses – sarcasm, cynicism, judgment, and anger. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
The Apostle Peter puts our wardrobes into perspective with the words, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (I Peter 5:5) J. Oswald Sanders wrote that the verb clothe “…refers to a slave’s tying on a white apron….” In life we’re to be dressed for service and to be humble. But it’s not only for certain occasions.
D. L. Moody once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Spiritual clothing – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are to be worn at all times. We’re to be dressed this way when we’re seen and when we’re not. Let’s be clothed for the Lord!
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.