"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:12
As Christ followers, we are called to dress differently than those in the world we live. We are called to clothe ourselves spiritually. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12 to clothe ourselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." He goes on to say in verses 13 and 14, "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."
When I was a kid, I always hated wearing a belt. Or, at least I thought I hated it. It took too much time to loop through my pants, and it never matched anything I was wearing. However, I was a skinny little thing, and I could never keep my pants up on my waist:) I soon found that wearing a belt was a good thing. My belt kept me from always pulling up my pants. My belt made me feel better, like I had it all together. Love is the belt that Christ followers wear to keep all of the other things in place. Love keeps us compassionate. Love keeps us kind. Love keeps us humble. Love keeps us gentle. Love keeps us patient. Love keeps us in an attitude of forgiveness, both given and received. From time to time, even I get discouraged about the world that we live in. Yes, it is a dark place. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who are not compassionate, not kind, not humble, not gentle, not patient, not forgiving, and not loving. But I want to encourage you today. As Christ followers, we have the capacity to clothe ourselves with these virtues. 1 John 4:4 says, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." Jesus gives us the ability to be clothed differently, to be clothed in His righteousness, to be clothed in love. And the more I look around, the more I find Christ followers clothed in these virtues. I see compassionate men and women everywhere. I see men and women who are kind and gentle, humble and patient. I see men and women who love God and love people, bearing with and forgiving one another. If you've been trying to dress yourself and failing to be the man or woman God wants you to be, STOP! Allow God to spiritually clothe you. Allow Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Allow the One who died for you to empower you to dress differently with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. And be sure to ask God to tighten your belt of love, which holds it all together!