(Putting on our Christian clothes)
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12 NLT)
By Fr. Chris Lee OFR
Have you ever had an important event or meeting that you were preparing to attend? Have you ever found yourself standing in front of the closet wondering what to wear to that event? Most of us find ourselves there each morning as we prepare to dress ourselves for the day’s activities (unless you wear a monastic habit lol). You can tell a lot about people based on the kinds of clothing they wear. Often our clothes reflect our status, values, even what job we do. It is usually easy to distinguish a police officer from a business person, or a medical technician based on the clothes they are waring. The Bible often uses the imagery of clothing to describe different aspects of our relationship with God. Let’s get dressed.
While it is super important to know what to wear to an event, I think it is equally important to know what “NOT” to wear. In Colossians 3:1-11 we are to set our sights on the realities of Heaven where Christ is. We are reminded that our true home is with Jesus, and to get rid of, or take off, sinful things within us. We are asked to remove sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. We are told to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behaver, slander, dirty language, and telling lies. St. Paul says in verse nine, that we have stripped off our old sinful nature with all its wicked deeds. I am reminded of the old saying, “out with the old, and in with the new”.
Now that we know what “not” to wear, let’s look at what clothes we should be wearing. In Colossians 2:12-17 our new clothes are laid out for us. We are told to clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, peace, and gratitude. This is the uniform of the Christian. These are the qualities and virtues that reflect who we are as children of God. These clothes are right to wear for every event in our lives! In addition to these fine articles of clothing, we must never forget the center piece. We are to put on The Lord Jesus Christ! St. Paul even tells us how to do this in Galatians 3:27, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” (NLT) Trying to wear Christian clothes without Christ is like wearing a police uniform without a badge. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important piece of our lives. Have you put on Christ?