"Clothe Yourself in Christ"
Do you find yourself staring blankly at your closet some mornings? You try to pick out that one outfit for this day, but nothing is jumping out? Or maybe too many are jumping out? What do you feel like wearing today? Does what you pick to put on depend on how you're feeling that morning? Maybe the weather determines the choices? Or perhaps something stretchy seems to be in order for the day!
Or maybe none of these apply to you. Are you one who, with no consideration or thought behind the choice, reaches in, grabs something out of the closet and puts it on? Period.
We are challenged in Colossians 3:12-14 to clothe ourselves; to put on certain things. Over the last couple blogs we discovered how to get rid of things from our closet that are earthly, sinful, detrimental to our walk with Christ. And so, as we continue to sift out those things, as we stand before our closet, trying to pick something out to wear, what choices might we have left?
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14
First of all, soak in the identify of who we are in Christ..."God's CHOSEN people" - yes - He chose us!!! "Holy", "Dearly Loved". Close your eyes and imagine yourself described in such a way. You are dearly loved by a God who chooses you! Don't move on until that sets in. Because until we realize that we matter; that we are so dearly loved; that we are "HOLY and dearly loved"; we won't accept or acknowledge the wardrobe that we are qualified to wear and that awaits us!
Ok, now that you embrace who you are in Christ, let's move on. Read the list Paul gives again. Slowly. Considering each piece of clothing. Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Forgiveness. Love. Define and understand what each one represents. How different this looks from the list of our earthly nature. Keep in mind that these verses are a part of a passage that addresses how we lived before Christ was a part of our lives, and how we live in this new life with Him. It's like putting on a new wardrobe!
For some of us, it could be a challenge to put on a shirt that feels so different than what we are used to wearing. Ok, here comes my analogy, but first I must state this disclaimer: I truly believe there is no place or reason or purpose for high heels! But, for the sake of a comparison, here it goes. It might be like me, if one day I switch from wearing flat dress shoes to wearing high heels. At first it may be completely uncomfortable and most likely a bit unnatural. I might walk a little funny in them. But the more I wear them, the better they will feel, until one day, I naturally pick them to wear and oh do they feel good!
Another thing that comes to mind is that there could be days, and probably early on in the "heel training" when I would be tempted to toss the high heels and resort back to my comfortable old flat shoes. Do you see what I mean?
You see, we have a choice. In each day, in each situation we face, in each person we deal with, we have a choice in what we wear to the occasion. When someone has hurt you or you find yourself upset, what will you choose to put on as you deal with them? Will you clothe yourself in your old comfy ways - putting on anger? filthy language? greed? slander? rage? Or will you dress yourself and try on something from your new wardrobe? Compassion? humility? patience?
We get to pick! It's our choice what we pull out of our closet to put on. Trust me, it's a challenge sometimes to wear patience or humility or any others on that list. As we grow in Christ, and learn from His ways, and embrace the spiritual clothes He wears, this new wardrobe will grow on us!
We must set our minds on things above. All of this comes down to the idea that WE choose. We use our minds to decide what we wear. If we just reach into our closet and grab something, it may not be the outfit we need. Christs calls us to reflect on Him and clothe ourselves accordingly.
There were times I heard my children use the phrase, "Oh! They make me so mad!" The alarm went off - teachable moment alert!!! I remember sharing with them that "they" cannot make you mad. Being mad is a choice - it's how you are responding to their actions. You are choosing to be mad. In essence, they clothed themselves in anger rather than in patience.
Read Ephesians 4:17-5:21 and learn even more about how we are to live as children of the light and what other apparel we can put on from our new wardrobe.
O ye followers of Christ, ye holy and dearly loved children of God, ambassadors and representatives of Jesus, being raised from the dead with Christ, may we in all that we say and do, set our minds on things above, rid ourselves of our earthly sinful nature and get dressed up in the garments of Christ!
* Ask God to show you what things are still hanging in your closet that need to pitch. What are you still wearing of your earthly nature?
Also ask Him to show you what clothing you stay away from that He so much wants you to wear? (review the list in Colossians 3:12)
* Draw a picture of yourself and label what clothes you currently wear. Name and label that earthly nature(s) that needs tossed. As you pray for God's strength, cross out the earthly nature labels and replace them with those listed in verse 12.
* Spend some time with Jesus as He affirms His love for you, calling you His chosen, holy and dearly loved child.
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