Chapter OneHave You Checked Your
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness,long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one
another . but above all these things put on love.
Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV
Like everybody else, I have to get up and get dressed
every day. Too often I go to my closet and throw my
hands in the air: "I don't have anything to wear!" My husband,
Bill, shakes his head and laughs. "No really," I
whine, peering into my closet and surveying the rod of
hangers drooping with weight.
"This jacket is too worn," I say to myself. "It's got little
fuzz balls all over it. This dress has gotten too small.
That blouse hangs wrong at the shoulders; why did I let
my sister talk me into buying it? This little number is
totally outdated; I can't wear that. The blue sweater is the
wrong color for my skin, and the pink one has a stain.
Here's a good blouse, but I always feel frumpy in it. This
one's uncomfortable; it chafes. This skirt is too long. This
one's too short ."
I sit on the edge of my bed and pout: "Nothing to
wear!" Bill is already back in the kitchen, oblivious to my
Seasons come and go. Clothing styles change. Different
regions of my anatomy fluctuate in size. Fabrics wear
thin, fade, and lose their appeal. Good thing I have
another closet with unlimited choices. I have a wardrobe
that will never fade, wear out, or go out of style. Best of
all, these clothes fit perfectly each time I pull them out
and put them on.
Have you checked your spiritual wardrobe lately?
Recently a friend sent me a reminder about the apostle
Paul's list describing the garments of the Holy Spirit in
his letter to Colossian believers. First on his list is tender
mercies. Also known as compassion, tender mercies are
acts of empathy for weak or hurting people. They are
usually motivated by feeling the same kind of pain as others
or being able to imagine it. I call tender mercies the
underwear of God's wardrobe-personal and next-to-the-skin.
They are the foundation for everything that goes on
Next on Paul's list is kindness. Everyone can use a
warmhearted deed as simple as a smile. But kindness is
more than that. It is an attitude that becomes part of your
lifestyle. It involves treating others with honor and significance.
The attitude of kindness is everyday stuff like
a great pair of sneakers. Not frilly. Not fancy. Just simple
Humility is next. No matter how much we win or lose
in life, God wraps us in a beautiful cloak of grace. When
we're humiliated, he loves us exactly as we are. When
we're in the limelight, we understand the big part he
played in our success.
Meekness is one of my favorite things to wear. Some
people think it's nondescript, but I disagree. Meekness
makes it possible to endure difficult circumstances and
poor treatment at the hands of others. It is a durable garment
with interesting textures. And meekness looks different
How about long-suffering? Sometimes I wish that old
rag would just wear out so I could get something more
glamorous and colorful. But I know God has fashioned
even this to enhance my life. There are times when long-suffering
is the only appropriate thing to wear for a particular
occasion-and then I'm glad it's in the closet.
Bearing with others and forgiveness are the outerwear
of God's designs. They are the last things we pull on over
everything else before we go out into the world. It would
get awfully cold without them. They protect us from the
elements and keep the wind from blowing down our
necks. As we go in and out of various experiences, we
button them up often and keep trudging.
Above all else, Paul says, put on love. Without this, we
are never fully dressed. You might think of love as your
best hat or the jeweled pin on the lapel of life. It is that
one essential accessory you should never leave behind.
Dust it off, shine it up. Never go out without it!
Put away the shabby clothing of the past and enjoy all
the garments in your spiritual wardrobe. Dress like the
woman God made you to be. He replaces sackcloth and
ashes for garments of praise!
* * *
Dear God, thank you for the garments of grace you've
prepared for me. I like your style. When I'm feeling
poor and ragged, I'll remember you keep your children
well dressed. Amen.