“Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”Colossians 3:14 (NLT)
Generally, I don’t buy myself new clothes unless really needed. But when I lost a certain amount of weight, it became apparent to my wife that my clothes, especially dress clothes began to “hang on me.” So off to the store we went… or was that, off to the store Linda went. I am not sure, but I think Linda did the heavy lifting when it came to shopping for clothes on my behalf. The fact is, I am very comfortable living in jeans, tee-shirts, and flip-flops on most days. It make’s choosing easy and I rarely have to think about what to wear the next day. Usually for me, it takes a little more effort to pick out dress clothes for those special occasions, like church, special dinners, fancy parties; you get the picture. As I get older, I find that wearing a tie to be optional attire as I find them extremely restrictive, cutting off the flow of blood to my brain, something I cannot afford to happen.
When it comes to our relationship with the church body, we all might want to think about putting on some new duds too. Oh, I don’t mean on Sunday morning, “go to meeting clothes,” please feel free to dress anyway you choose, so long as it is modest attire. No, I am talking about what we put on to interact with the body of Christ, not only on Sunday but every day of the week.
The Apostle Paul gives his readers in his Letter to the Colossians some clear commands on what the church needs to be putting on after they have taken off some things that just don’t fit well on a Christian. He tells us, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
When we came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, we became a new creation, old things have passed away and everything has become new (2Corinthians 5:17). We often tell people who have lost a large amount of weight that they look like they have had an extreme make over. The truth is, when you drop enough weight, you will notice that your old clothes just don’t look good on you. That’s a great illustration of what happens to a person when they come to Christ. The old clothes of anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and foul language just doesn’t fit well on that newly created spiritual suit you’re wearing. The old clothes of the old man are not up to date with your new lifestyle, they just don’t fit you… your style has changed. Anger doesn’t become you and malice has suddenly become out of vogue. Foul language? Well, that was so last season.
No, you are dressing for success these days. And God is your new Designer and He alone has fitted you with not only what is in style for the Christian man or woman, but what is expected to be worn daily.
PUTTING ON THE NEW DUDS—Paul tells his reader that they are to, “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering (Col.3:12). Why? Well, the short answer is, we need to make allowances for each other’s faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses. Paul puts it this way, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another…” To live as Christ would have us we need to put on these new duds, not to make us look good but to be good–good in Christ Jesus.
BUT GOD WANTS NOT ONLY NEW SPIRITUAL CLOTHES BUT THE VERY BEST HE HAS TO OFFER—The apostle goes on to say, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Here Paul gives us the timeless style that will never go out of date or out of vogue when it comes to living the Christian life. There will be days when a brother or sister in Christ will show up dressed in the old clothes, the lifestyle of the old nature. For sure, they won’t look pretty. There spiritual clothes will look like they slept in them, wrinkles, baggy, stained, and smelly. It is at those times we need to be dressed for success, donning the new garb of Christ-like love. Yes, they may well be unsightly, but remember, you or I may very well show up looking the same way the next day. But it is the clothing of love that binds us together that God wants us to put on. How do we do this? One leg at a time. Sorry couldn’t resist the pun.
THERE IS ONLY ONE DESIGN LABEL—It isn’t easy to admit, but I have shown up at Christian functions wearing the wrong attire. Talk about awkward. The looks of pity, the condescending smiles, the “who picked out your clothes?” questioning glances, all meant to make me feel small; and it worked. But at the right time God sent a person to me not to show pity or condescension but to walk next to me and show me the newest style of Christ-like clothing—the design label had only one word—LOVE. It was at that point, I wanted to make sure I would do everything I could to be dressed as the Designer Christ would expect. I’m sorry, was I talking about clothes? 😊
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN, wishing you Joy in Jesus