“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12-14 MSG
If you were invited to a wedding you would dress for the occasion, right? If you're a girl you'd find a beautiful dress and probably wear heels and some jewelry, and if you're a guy you'd probably put on a button up shirt and grab a tie or bow-tie, and maybe even wear a suit if you're feeling extra dressy. If you were going for a run you wouldn't wear heels and dressy clothes though. You would need shorts and a t-shirt or tank top and definitely running shoes. What we wear is often based on what we are doing, and in this passage it says God has called us to live a life of love, so we need to dress for such a lifestyle. When we put on an outfit we are presenting something to others, a lot of times it's one of the first things people notice about us. So think of it that way. Are the first things people are noticing about your character things like quiet strength, discipline, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, and contentment? Or do they see someone who is easily upset, impatient, always having to be right, holds grudges, rude, and arrogant? As I examine myself I see a mix of both. There are times when I nail it and handle a situation with kindness or humility and then other times when I become impatient or I find myself being lazy and not practicing discipline. I think we can all relate to that, unless you're Jesus and perfect. So how do we clothe ourselves in these qualities daily?
It is so vital to be in constant communion and communication with God. Jesus said, "Abide in me, I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you ABIDE in Me." (John 15:4) I love this illustration of our relationship with Jesus. If a branch becomes disconnected from the vine it no longer receives the nutrients it needs to produce fruit. Just like a vine, we cannot produce fruit such as love, patience, compassion, and so forth, unless we are connected to Jesus. God, who is the true vine, IS love, which is at the root of all these things, so if you want to be able to love and show kindness and humility, it's going to take continually abiding in Him because like Jesus said, we cannot bear fruit unless we abide in Him and stay in constant communication with Him.
2. Surround yourself with those who will call you into abundant life
This is so important. Just today I was reminded of that. It was just a little comment they made that made me realize the way I was thinking about something was not based in love or in the way Jesus would have. I was convicted and realized I needed to be Jesus to these people because Jesus loved those that everyone else passed by. Our close friends, the ones we talk to about life, should be those who are themselves striving to walk daily in the love of Christ. You will be able to tell who is and isn't by their fruit, just like I mentioned earlier. Do they have peace and joy in their life or do envy and bitterness follow them wherever they go? Are they willing to confront you in love and call you to walk in the same or do they listen and agree when you're wallowing in self pity over something? So what kind of life to do you want? I know I want a life filled with love. So make sure you have compassion, kindness, humility, a quiet strength, discipline, contentment with being second place, an even-temper, forgiveness, and most importantly love in your wardrobe. Realize these are essentials that God picked out for you to wear everyday. I hope as you get ready for your day tomorrow you will look to the wardrobe God assigned you and be sure to dress yourself for a life of love!