We who are apprentices of Jesus must take off our old clothes and put on new ones. In Colossians 3:9-10, clothes are a metaphor for behaviour: some we must take off, and others we must put on.
In the previous daily readings we have been looking at some of the “old clothes” we need to throw into the trash: the apparel of anger, lust and lying, the garb of malice, greed and immorality. We used to wear these clothes before we became people in whom Christ dwells and delights. They were our natural wardrobe: we put on anger in order to manage others; we put on lust in order to feel intimacy; we put on deception in order to get what we wanted. Even though they were filthy rags, they were all we had.
But now we are Christ-inhabited. We live in the strong and unshakeable kingdom of God. We know who we are and whose we are. The old clothes simply must go. In their place we put on our very best attire (verse 12 onwards).
Apprentices of Jesus put on compassion. Christ-followers wear kindness each day. Students of Jesus put on humility and gentleness and patience. Not because Jesus said we must, but because those are the only clothes fit for children of the King. We are royalty. Those virtues are the clothes we wear because Christ has made us virtuous.
Tomorrow we will explore each of these in more detail, but one concluding observation for today – we have to put them on: God will not put them on for us. Apprenticeship to Jesus always involves our effort. So this day we are called to put on these virtues. The world does not need to be impressed by our dress, but it is very much in need of genuine compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
God has cleaned me up, given me new life and also given me a new set of clothes to wear. They are a gift, but I must put them on. Today I will, for the world is badly in need of people who are compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient.
Gracious Abba, thank you for these wonderful items of apparel. I did not earn them; they are a gift from you. Help me honour you this day, as well as those around me, by putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Amen.
Have you ever tried to “dress to impress” others? Did it work?