How are you dressing these days?

Recently my work environment changed their dress code a bit, lightening up on the restrictions on wearing jeans to work. In fact, the term "dress for you day" really says it all. We are now allowed to come to work in nice jeans - the kind that are free of rips and tears - making it very comfortable to work. It isn't that I really wanted to ditch all my dress clothes, but there are just times when I am doing little more than sitting in front of the computer working on some projects and jeans are quite comfy. I wonder how we are dressing for our day when it comes to our 'spiritual clothing', though? If we were to judge our 'spiritual attire' by the attitude we see exhibited while we are shopping for some 'out of stock' items, or our willingness to make adjustments while we go through crisis of some sort, we might just find we are a little 'under-dressed'. It seems some have forgotten to get dressed at all!

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. (Colossians 3:12)

Clothe yourselves - that means that 'getting dressed' spiritually is our responsibility. God doesn't dress us for our day. We do! That means we spend time in prayer, contemplation of the Word of God, and in exploring where it is we might make adjustments in our character as he reveals things to us. We take the steps to 'get dressed' and he provides the wardrobe! We don't have to be the ones to create the wardrobe, but we do have to take the steps to actually put it on. Five garments that suggest a great deal about 'dressing for our day' when it comes to 'putting on' the character of Christ in our lives. It isn't hard to see how one of these 'garments' left off can drastically impact how our day will go and how our choices can be affected by leaving off even one of these!

Compassion and kindness might be thought of by some as the exact same garment - like putting on two pairs of underwear or socks. Compassion is our ability to 'feel something' in a way that moves us into action. We see the need of another and are met with the feelings of what that need creates within us. We are moved by compassion to take actions of kindness. Kindness is the action of helping wherever there is a need. Without compassion, kindness is kind of left out of the picture. If we don't connect with the need of others, we seldom find a way to meet it. Think of compassion as that which moves us into the kind actions.

Humility, gentleness, and patience are also similar garments, but each uniquely 'adorning' us in some very specific ways. Humility is more than a lack of arrogance. Humility is the garment we put on that helps us see the needs around us - to put on the very nature of God that connects with the needs of others and then looks for the ways to meet those needs. Humility connects us with the will of God - knowing when to act, how to act, and why it is we are acting. Gentleness is directly linked to humility because our actions would be harsh if we were not clothed in humility. We'd find ourselves being rather 'critical' and 'unloving' toward others were it not for having humility put on before we try to adorn ourselves with gentleness. Gentleness is the outcome of humility. 

Patience might just be the garment we have the hardest time putting on, because it means we will wait for the will of God. We will trust when it seems hardest to trust. Think about that time you knew someone had a need, you knew how to meet that need, wanted to meet it, but then you didn't know the right timing to meet the need. Too early and they might just miss out on some lesson God wanted them to learn themselves. Too late and they might be so frustrated they miss the blessing all together. Knowing the right timing in life is important. Patience is a hard garment to wear, but it is probably one of the most important because it kind of holds the key to what we do with all the other garments we have put on today! Just sayin!

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