Do the Clothes Make the Man? Put This On
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12–15 Read More
What would it be like to go through your day with a bulletproof vest on under your shirt? Even better, how about some mithril armor like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit? If wearing it caused you no inconvenience but protected you from swords and bullets, would you wear it? If wearing something special like a Green Lantern ring or a magical necklace gave you superpowers, you’d jump at the chance!
Here Paul details some of the outfit that Jesus has purchased for us to wear, and it does more than an invisible cloak or power gauntlets. As we put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, we save the world. Like a bulky vest, you can’t hide these things. When co-workers say the wrong thing when a family member puffs up with pride, kindness, humility, meekness all save the day.
These things take deliberate intent. You don’t accidentally show someone kindness. Most of us only have to drive past one exit on the expressway to see our habit towards anger and bitterness. Putting on patience is an act that is work but shows off for years.
Note that before all of that, Paul calls the people of Colossae “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” They aren’t holy because they are patient and God doesn’t love them because they are bearing with one another. They are already made into who they are, now Paul is asking them to dress the part.
People that know that God has mercifully forgiven them are able to mercifully forgive others. The more we receive and see Jesus’ forgiveness and sacrifice for us in our wicked state, the more we can believe that He is working in other people too. The more Christ rules in my heart and changes me on the inside, the more I see Him at work in you.
It really is a progression of maturity and love.
As Christ grows in me, I love Him more. As I love Christ more, I show more kindness and patience and compassion. That opens my eyes to see that Jesus, who I love, is also working in you. As I love what Christ loves and I see Him working and loving you, I love you too! Now out of that love, I can be more patient and compassionate with you and all of your struggles.
As Christ does all of this in all of us at the same time, we grow in love for one another and become the Body of Christ. We might not agree on everything, but we can still experience harmony and unity as Christ rules in our hearts. That is what our salvation was purchased to bring about. That is Christ’s prayer of unity in the garden and the fulfillment in Heaven when the Kingdom is complete.
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