“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Col. 3:12)
I’ve recently been encouraging my brother Andrew to clean out his closet—enough, I said, with ripped sweatshirts, ratty clothes, and threadbare shirts that embarrass his family.
In full disclosure, I must admit that I once had his same pack-rat tendencies. All that began to change when Lucy and I got married. In order to make room in our soon-to-be-shared closet, it was clear that I needed to discard some things I’d been dragging around since college. If I’d insisted on keeping all of my old stuff, there wouldn’t have been room for her things, and that wouldn’t have been a good start to a new marriage.
In today’s lesson, Paul invites us to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, meekness, and patience.” If we’re to put on the clothes—the characteristics—that Paul lists, we may need to discard some old clothes, some old characteristics. It’s hard to put on the new clothes Paul names when we insist upon covering ourselves with some nasty demeanors and ratty attitudes that we’ve been dragging around for a long time.
What are some of these old clothes we may need to discard? How about holding grudges, nurturing resentments, or spreading rumors? Or, how about entitlement, envy, sullenness, stinginess, dishonesty, or ingratitude?
When we consider how ugly those old clothes, those old characteristics, can look, given how much they can hurt others and ourselves, and given how much we can embarrass those who love us and ourselves when we wear them, why would we ever want to put them on?
In today’s scripture, Paul is encouraging us to do some closet cleaning. Because we’re God’s “chosen ones,” we need to dress appropriately; that is, we need to clothe our attitudes, behaviors, demeanors, and intentions in ways that reflect and honor God.
If we were to choose just one piece of clothing to keep in our closet, one that we could wear anywhere, anytime, with anyone, here’s Paul’s recommendation: “Above all, clothe yourselves with love…” (v.14).
- What old and ugly traits or characteristics do you need to discard?
- What new and attractive traits or characteristics would Jesus like you to be wearing and sharing?
- What would it mean for you to “clothe yourself with love?”