“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” -Colossians 3:12-13 [NASB]
“And regardless of what else you put on, war love. It’s your basic. all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” -Colossians 3:14 [MSG]
This set of verses has been, for unknowing reasons as of right now, jumping out at me from many different places. First, in small group we read this passage when we were talking about mutual conflict. Then, quite coincidentally (ha ha), I was actually ready to read that particular section of Colossians the next day in my daily reading. Third, at Challenge, Gabe starts rattling this verse off while talking about walking across rooms. Later, he told me he picked up a random piece of paper that was stuck in one of the church Bibles and saw that passage written there and was compelled to share.
Many times, exactly 4 in the last 2 days, has this Scripture been given to me. I probably ought to do something with it. Or shall I rephrase that – I think it ought to have something to do with me.
Number one, this whole business of wearing things gets me thinking. The analogy here is obviously about getting dressed, or putting on clothes and how believers should clothe themselves with certain characteristics.
I think the most impactful part of this passage for me is that. Folks, we don’t have to wear these clothes that God has chosen for us to wear. We can actually change “clothes”, and put a whole lot of sleezy on if we so desire. This putting on of “clothes” is actually an option. We are commanded to do so, but we have a choice of what we’re going to wear. The question begs, will I put on compassion, or will I dress in something that makes me feel/appear cold? Do I choose the kind t-shirt or the mean-spirited tank top? Humble jeans or prideful capris? The list goes on.
Did I dress appropriately or inappropriately for the occasion: having a quiet strength (verses using words harshly toward others), being disciplined (verses laziness, and being non-committal and unreliable), even-tempered (verses being easily worked up, rage), content with second place (versus wanting the attention from others or wanting to be served), quick to forgive (versus gossiping about someone’s faults or holding silent yet obvious grudges)…
And then there’s love. Eugene says it best – this garment of love is a staple item. No matter what else you choose to dress in, you’ve got to have love. It’s an absolute necessity.
The first thing I think about when talking about clothing that’s necessary, is underwear. We all have probably experienced having to go commando at SOME point in our lives, though few would admit it, and we know to say, “Never be without ’em!” Make sure you have those undies on. A somewhat personal metaphor, but we’ve got to show the love to people! Otherwise, we’re going to be real uncomfortable. Lucky for us, if we can just get our underwear (love) on, the rest usually comes pretty naturally!
Pardon my next analogy, but have you ever seen Cinderella? Those creepy animals in the beginning that help her dress… yeah, let’s go there for a moment. Cinderella is such a sweetie, isn’t she? If I’m not mistaken, she’s got her underwear on, she’s just lovin’ on life, singing a tune, prancing around. Because she’s got her underwear on (underwear=love), she is ready to be dressed. Well looky there, those birdie friends bring her the dress and they just throw it on! How easy was that?
If we could just dress in love, the rest of those character traits would throw themselves on.
So what will I do? Will I choose to love, forgoing all will within me to be lazy and just coast through life? Will I choose to walk across rooms in love to share Jesus with a person who needs him? Will I choose love even in the midst of conflict, forgiving the person who wronged me even before we’ve resolved the issue? Will I choose to love God enough to spend quality time with Him, learning more about the life he wants to give me? If I choose to love, will it be worth the price?
If I dress appropriately, in the wardrobe God has picked out for me, I, even though I can’t always speak from experience, know that the reward is great. It’s worth giving up my will for God’s. It’s worth giving my whole life to. It’s worth the sacrifice – to experience the joy of modeling the clothes that God has chosen for me.