It was not all that long ago when I was gifted my first suit. Prior to that, never in my life had I owned any piece of clothing that nice. But here I was, new suit in hand, feeling unworthy of such a thoughtful gift, nonetheless. Unfortunately, though the circumstances under which I received this gift were not ideal, as it was to wear to my father-in-law’s memorial service after he lost his battle to cancer, the reason for it was necessary.
We need the right attire for the right situations, and nowhere do we see this more prominently than with these words from Paul in Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV):
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.
With Jesus as our reason, what we “wear” and how that plays itself out in our lives could not be more important. For as we should all be aware of, it is because of Jesus that we can be saved, and because of what He did for us we are able to live the type of lives He created us to live. We have the privilege of using our life and our actions to glorify Him and His sacrifice in all that we do.
We also have everything we need to battle an enemy that, if we do not walk in the ways of Jesus, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8, ESV).” Thankfully, despite that reality, victory has come … if we apply what Jesus provides us for our everyday type of living. As Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV):
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, the “outfit” we wear could not be more vital to the well-being of our hearts, minds, and souls. Something Paul continues to highlight in our passage from this week:
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Col. 3:14-15, NIV)
Put into perspective, when it comes to who we are and how we live, this idea of “putting on clothes” that reflect God’s character could not be more appropriate. Without purposeful thought to how we approach our efforts to present ourselves each day, we can so easily send the wrong message. As Pastor Mike Halstead explained in his message last Sunday, when we do not Dress for Success like the old 1970’s best-selling book once described for us, we can fail and fall flat by not adequately preparing for whatever situation we are facing, both in the workplace and outside of it.
Certain moments in our life call for certain measures. And nowhere is this more important than in our Christian life. When we allow Jesus to reign within our hearts, we overflow with a joy that is only experienced by those who grasp the new reality we live in every single day God gives us breath. Each moment is a gift, and each day offers us an opportunity to give something back to Him, however great or small, as a thank you for saving us from our own destruction. For the truth is there is no ultimate hope without Jesus as the light in the darkest of times. There would be no Church around to help breathe God’s life into a people desperately in need of a Savior. And there would be no opportunity for us as individual image bearers of God to season people anywhere with what Paul makes clear is the real spice of life in Colossians 3:16-17 (ESV):
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Thus, may whatever “suit” we wear, however new or old it may be, “bear on [our bodies] the marks of Jesus (Gal. 6:17, ESV).” For no matter what comes our way, there is only one answer to all life’s ills, and that is a life saved in Him.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- What does it look like for us to “clothe” ourselves with the characteristics Paul mentions in this passage?
- What’s the difference between “bearing” with one another and “forgiving” one another? In what ways are they same?
- How does the “peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts?”
- If you’re a Christian, how are you letting the “message of Christ dwell among you richly” as you “teach and admonish” others?
- If you’re not a Christian, what more do you want or need to know about Jesus to better understand this passage? (Contact us here if you want to talk with someone: https://www.harvestworld.com/contact-us/).
“BETTER THAN” – OUR STUDY OF COLOSSIANS IN REVIEW …
Colossians 4:2-18: “Our Own Strength” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Starting Out Where it Ends”
Colossians 3:18-4:1: “Our Old Relationships” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Gracious Reflections of a Savior’s Love”
Colossians 3:12-17: “Clothed in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A New Suit Pressed With Timeless Truth”
Colossians 3:1-11: “Our Old Self” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Life After Brambles of Old News”
Colossians 2:16-23: “In Christ Alone” / Blog post and Study Guide: “The Disappearing Shadows of Faith”
Colossians 2:6-15: “Freedom in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “God Is There and He’s Not Hiding From You”
Colossians 1:24-2:5: “Mystery Revealed” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A Mystery Worth Discovering”
Colossians 1:15-23: “The Supremacy of Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Jesus Christ Holds It Together“
Colossians 1:1-14: “The Pressure of the World” / Blog post and Study Guide: “An ‘Others’ Kind of Faithfulness”