At some point on a Sunday morning, you will end up standing in front of your dresser or in your closet, trying to figure out what to wear to church. Some of us grab whatever is handy and move on. Others of us (more than we would want to admit) hem and haw and go through multiple choices before settling on the outfit (and then maybe change our minds one more time).
God is definitely interested in and cares deeply about what we wear to church. And, it has nothing to do with suits and ties, T-shirts or jeans. We are His body, and He shares specific instructions with us on what we are to wear when we gather and live life together with other believers.
Check out the guidance that Colossians 3:12-15 gives us:
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.”
Let’s put on our identity in Christ.
We are chosen by God to be His. Let that sink in. God absolutely loves us, and He has taken away and forgiven what separated us from Him. Because of what God has done for us, we can be who He created us to be – in Christ. We are because He Is.
Let’s intentionally and overtly wear the fruit of the Spirit.
From that position of being chosen, made holy and wholeheartedly loved, God gives us His own Spirit. As the Spirit works in and through our lives, His fruit creates beautiful garments we are to put on and show off. We aren’t to hide what God has made and given us to share. We are to put on heartfelt compassion. We are to dress to the nines in kindness. We are to be known for being humble and elevating others. We are to showcase gentleness and wow with the patience that flows from our lives. We should be known for these things. This directive from the Lord is convicting because it reveals our heart. We cannot be selfish and display these qualities. Pride must go. Because God loves us so completely, we can let go of our agenda and embrace Him wholeheartedly. It’s when we surrender fully to the Spirit, that He produces His fruit to clothe us with His character.
Let’s cover each other in forgiveness.
To forgive is to obey the God who loves us so much. And, God says to those of us who are in the body of Christ, that we must accept each other. When someone has a complaint against us or against another brother or sister (and we know that happens), we must forgive each other. God includes a major zinger in this passage to emphasize how important this is to Him. Just as the Lord has forgiven us, we must also forgive. That puts offenses in perspective. All of our sinful behavior, all of our selfish actions, all of our speaking before thinking, all of our disregard for others or elevating ourselves above other brothers and sisters, all of the ways we squelch the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives — all of our sin, ALL OF IT, Jesus willingly laid down His life to pay it off. And, that’s how we are to forgive others.
Let’s put on love, which pulls it all together.
It’s the most important – what we cannot leave without. Scripture says, “above all.” The signature piece is love. Simple, pure, unblemished, the perfect piece that complements and sets apart. Love is the hallmark, the defining signature of a Christian. Above all, put on love. This love saturates, encompasses and is the lens through which we see everything else. We put on Christ when we put on love. Our Savior is love, His life is love, His eternal purpose is love. And when we wrap ourselves up in His love, our lives radiate the glory of His Gospel. His love is what pulls it all together. It is the perfect bond of unity. Love is the reason we are family, because God so loved each of us. Now that we believe, we are brothers and sisters – and can come together united in His love, as His church. Love now is our definition, and must be what we are known for, because of Whose we are.
Let’s tie peace around our hearts.
God’s peace is always available to us. The peace of knowing Jesus came to earth with us in mind, willingly making a way for us to have a relationship with Him, is overwhelming. Yet, so often we wouldn’t use the word peace to describe our crazy lives. Peace is either an afterthought or an unattainable ideal that one day we might achieve. Jesus came to set us free from that kind of thinking. When we embrace His love, and give Him our hearts, we have forever access to His peace. However, peace isn’t an automatic result. It is a decision. It’s a choice to let the peace of Jesus have complete control of our hearts. We release our preconceived ideas, and let go of getting a say. We relinquish full authority to the Author of faith. He is God, and we are not. It’s only then that we can clearly hear The Word speak over us, and we can live out the fullness of our calling in Christ.
The way we dress really does matter. By following the pattern of Colossians 3:12-15, we can show the world, and our family, that we belong to Jesus. So, let’s embrace our identity, and follow the Spirit’s lead. Let’s forgive and love like Jesus. And, let’s allow God’s peace to lead the way.