"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
I'm not a big shopper. I shouldn't say that - I'm not a big clothes shopper. Put me in the middle of a gourmet grocery store and I'm like a kid in a candy store. Put me in a mall, and it's all about "What do I need and how quickly can I get out of here." I am certain that most of this falls into a very self-centered world where I don't think many things look good on me. Hence, why bother going to get more stuff.
Yet, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at a store looking for a couple of new items. After checking out all the options, I selected a few and entered that lovely place of truth - THE DRESSING ROOM. Yes, with mirrors all around, it is the one place that nothing can escape - no imperfection, no "little too much here or there", it's all there for you to see. As I tried on a few things, trying to determine what didn't look too bad, I remembered the wonderful verse for today. This made me smile.
I realized that no matter what fabric or color I might wear, no matter what shoes go with what outfit, no matter whether it is turtleneck season or not, the clothes that are on my body are just that - clothes. They are truly there for the purpose of ensuring I am presentable for those around me. At home, when relaxing, I can get away with the best two pieces of clothing ever invented, sweats and a sweatshirt. When I am off to work, much to the pleasure of my coworkers, I choose something more presentable.
When I look at the concept that clothes are truly there for the purpose of being presentable for others, this verse is even MORE important. Am I dressing myself in the things that are to be shared to others? When I slip on that turtleneck, is kindness joining my presentation? When I pull on those slacks, is gentleness a part of my wardrobe? When I read those precious words, it helped me to see that the real things that I put on every morning shouldn't be about the right shoes with the right outfit, but more so, the right attitude for the day.
Am I clothing myself in compassion for others who may be struggling? Am I clothing myself in kindness for anyone that I might meet? Am I clothing myself in humility, truly knowing that I don't know it all? Am I clothing myself in gentleness and tenderness of words and action - especially to those closest to me? Of all, am I clothing myself in patience, willing to hold my words and actions before speaking out of turn? Wow, when I look at the things I should be clothing myself in, those red pumps don't seem nearly as important!
I believe I have had days when I have worried more about wearing the right blazer versus wearing the right behavior. I realize that throughout the day when I might look in the mirror and I'm not happy about the reflection, it may be regardless of the great outfit. It is on those days that I fully understand what God is trying to say in this verse, am I putting on the clothes that God wants me to wear? For as far back as the Bible goes, it has been important for everyone to wear the behaviors that make our days and nights have true meaning, clothing in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Yet, here and now, these words and these behaviors are even more important.
When you get dressed tomorrow morning, what are you going to put on? With that nice tie, can you find a bit of compassion? With that great blouse, can you find some humility? Let's try it - let's put on the clothes that God wants to see on us - and may we reflect the behaviors of love.
"Dearest God, How one simple verse can change our perspective!! We ask that as we put on our clothes every day, that we are reminded of what YOU want us to wear, the behaviors that show your unconditional love for us, and the behaviors that we can share with others. May our clothes reflect your mercy for each of us, and may they radiate the joy of our salvation. Thank you for clothing us with all that is necessary. In your gracious name we pray. Amen."