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Tuesday, November 29, 2016
What are you wearing today?
Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15 VOICE) The word "since" is suggestive of a completed action - based upon something which has already occurred - it is a done deal. That means there is no denying this life-change which occurs when we give our hearts to Jesus - it is an action like no other, setting into motion all future actions which are based upon that one action. At the point we say "yes" to Jesus, inviting him to take control of our lives, there is an action on God's part that sets into motion a cascade of events we call sanctification (a big word meaning we are cleaned up, our priorities are set straight, and we begin to take steps in accordance with what the scriptures declare to be the "right actions" of his followers). We are set apart by God - meaning we don't do the setting apart - he does. This life change is his doing, not ours. We cooperate with him, responding in obedience to what he reveals to us as the "right actions", but he is the one to call us away from the way we were living apart from him and calls us toward a new set of choices and actions. We are told to clothe ourselves with a holy way of life - manifested in certain actions such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I don't know about you, but I might get one or two of these "right" some of the time, but to get all of them right all of the time, that is beyond me to actually pull off in my own power! We need God's grace to get all of these actions aligned and consistently revealed in our lives. If we read on, these expected behaviors are revealed in such things as being tolerant of the other person when they do something which disappoints or isn't "up to par". It means we forgive one another for actions they might not even have realized they revealed in response to one of life's circumstances. It means we love in ways we just cannot do apart from Christ's life being real within us. To love as Christ loves means we do so without strings attached - truly forgiving offenses even before we are asked for that forgiveness. It means we don't wait - we beat a path to the other person's door in order to see relationships restored. Joyce Meyers frequently reminds us that patience requires more than an ability to wait - it is the actions we reveal while we are waiting. We have probably also heard it said that all things are difficult until they become easy. We may not get this right all of the time, and only get some of these right most of the time, but the truth is that God will take the sum of the ones we do get right and use them for his glory. We just need to take action as he directs and leave the rest up to him. Eventually, we will be fully clothed with all these actions of grace, but until that time, get as many pieces on as possible! Just sayin!