Hi everyone. Rob here.
I bought a new suit yesterday. The old one wasn’t actually a suit but a slightly mismatched jacket and pants set that didn’t fit very well. It made me look smart only because I dress so casually the rest of the time. It felt indulgent until I put on the jacket and felt it fit snugly across my shoulders. So now I’m the proud owner of a good quality, well-fitted and, blessedly, well priced suit. So if you need someone to take your wedding, give me a call!
Colossians 3:12 says this:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
When you’re well dressed you look like the best version of you. When people are poorly dressed they either look diminished or puffed up. They don’t look like themselves. They don’t look comfortable. Something doesn’t quite fit. Now, this is not a blog about clothing as I’m entirely unqualified to write on that, but it is about being dressed well. Paul is telling us that we need to make a deliberate choice, based on who we are in Christ, to clothe ourselves in values and qualities that reflect our truest and deepest self.
This is not clothing that can be put over other, older clothing. The Christian life is about what we take off as well as what we put on. In verse 9 Paul tells us that we taken off our old self with its practices “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed.” Our new self isn’t fully formed. It’s being renewed as we learn to dress and undress well.
All of the values that Paul mentions in verse 12 look best as a whole package. Along with the suit came a shirt, tie and belt. Later I found some good shoes as well. The suit didn’t look as good over my old t-shirt or with a pair of sneakers. In the same way compassion doesn’t look good with cynicism, but goes much better with kindness. Patience doesn’t go well with anger, but looks good with humility and gentleness. We are asked to take on the whole character of Christ and we can only do that if we’re willing to take off all that doesn’t belong to him.
This is what’s hard. I hate throwing out old clothes. They become part of me. They may be worn, tatty and stained, but their familiarity is comforting. In the same way we can be so used to how we act that the thought of change is frightening. But what if your anger is pushing people away? What if your impatience makes your kids feel small? What if your lack of compassion hardens your heart a little more every day? The reality is that if we want to be the best person we can be we need to check out what we’re wearing. We need to look in the mirror, or have an expert cast their eye over us, and get honest. Does my behaviour reflect who I am in Christ? Does it point to him and his kingdom? Is it grounded in God’s love? Does it help others draw near to God and to myself? Is it good for my heart?
As you check the clothing of your heart may you know God’s grace as you revamp your wardrobe. May you be able to cast aside all that doesn’t fit and enjoy wearing those qualities that point to the God of unconditional love. May you know the confidence and lightness of step that comes from truly feeling and looking like your best self. And may you not be afraid to die to the old and come alive to the new.
Grace and peace everyone.