Saturday, September 1, 2012

Good Clothing - Part 1

What are you wearing right now?  I’m wearing an orange Mission to the World shirt from a past mission trip and brown shorts.  Now I ask again…what are you REALLY wearing?  You’re probably thinking – “Okay, maybe this is a post I need to skip if you're going to talk about clothes.”  But seriously, don’t leave yet!  I can’t stand clothes shopping and all that stuff so you don’t need to worry!  *smile*

My question is:  What type of spiritual clothing are you wearing?  I’ve never really cared about clothes and I think I’ve still got some shirts from college that I wear almost every week.  Is that bad?  haha  I could never really be labeled as a fashionable person and that has never bothered me.  But when it comes to spiritual clothes – I want to be wearing the best and look the best.  I want to be as well-dressed as I can possibly be.  Anybody know a good store for spiritual clothing?  I doubt Kohl’s would have anything, huh?

I’ve been thinking about my spiritual clothing ever since our Bible study on Thursday night which has been focusing on Everyday Christian Living.  I learned that there are 3 layers of clothes that we, as Christians, are supposed to be wearing each day.  So, I thought I’d unload each one in a separate post to do two things.  First, I’ve wanted to think on them more and understand them better myself – and I always think better through my fingers.  Second, I wanted to give you the chance to think on them and perhaps check out the type of clothing that you’ve been wearing.  I know my clothing needs a bit of freshening up – so don’t be discouraged if you find that to be the case!

So, the first layer of Christ-like clothing is…

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”  Colossians 3:12

 There you have it – the clothing that will help make you the best dressed Christian around!  But what does that mean?  How can I be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience?  To be clothed in compassion means that we should be considerate and concerned for the welfare of other people.  We should actually care about how a person feels and our hearts should yearn to care for that person.  In case you’re wondering, the opposite of compassion is coldness.  So if you catch yourself feeling cold – be sure you change your clothes quickly!

To be clothed in kindness means to be nice!  That’s easy!  But sometimes kindness looks a bit different.  Kindness means more than just being nice.  It means being “Christian nice” – which means that we show kindness in the face of cruelty (which by the way, is the opposite of kindness).  It’s easy to be nice to the nice people – but it’s hard to show kindness or compassion to the people who like to attack you.  But – kind is what we must be anyway!

Clothed in humility is the exact opposite of arrogance.  That might be the easiest answer.  An arrogant person insists on always being right, always having things their own way, and never backing down.  So, don’t always insist on being right, don’t always have things your way, and be willing to walk away.  Being humble means that we’re not going to participate in the arrogant person’s game.  Don't continue discussing something if you realize that it's only going to cause more trouble or more friction - just walk away and leave it alone.  Showing humility can diffuse many fires of arrogance.  And women – another great way to be humble is to dress with MODESTY!  My mama taught me well when it came to this.  Don’t wear clothing that will encourage men to lust after us – what’s the point?  Our beauty should be the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”  1 Peter 3:4  Any man worth getting to know will want to look deeper than skin-deep – so be humble about clothing!

Being clothed in meekness means to be yielding and submissive.  Our personality shouldn’t be domineering or over-bearing to others (the opposite of meek).  Our speech should be soft and loving.  We should submit to the authority of our husbands and others that God has placed in authority over us. 

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:22

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.”  Hebrews 13:17

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”  Romans 13:1

There is no room in our Christian life for proud and assertive behavior when it comes to those whom God has placed in authority over us.

To be clothed in patience is to show endurance in suffering.  To be persistent in a loving way.  Patience means to be tolerant of the small things – like a flat tire, a dead battery, a burnt supper, an annoying person, a long wait at the doctor's office, a family of ducks crossing the road – and to tolerate these things without complaint.  Don’t get irritated easily, which is the exact opposite of patience.  The staying power of patience is a tough thing to learn – and I know that I’m still working on this one, for sure!

So, these traits are the first layer of clothing that God requires us to put on.  As Christ-followers, it isn’t going to be easy to wear these clothes.  If you live on the same planet that I do – then you’re going to have plenty of chances to practice the “putting on” of these clothes.  Just think about it.  How many times today have you had the chance to be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, and patient?  I can easily think of an example for each of these, just from today.

I encourage you, from one Christ-follower to another – focus on getting dressed up for the next few days with the right clothing.  And no, Kohl’s doesn’t have it – but your Bible does.  So, pick it up and read it – and you’ll find clothing selections like you never imagined!  Now that’s my kind of shopping!


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