What Not to Wear

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The Lord wants to be clothed in forgiveness and the all-purpose garment of love.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-13, NIV

Ever looked back at old photos and thought, "Are you kidding me?"
 
If you've watched any of the fashion TV shows, you know those clothing experts can be brutal! They take one look at someone's style and cut them to shreds. These fashionistas really do have an eye for style and in the end, they make the dowdiest, mismatched person look amazing!
 
God is the Eternal Fashionista. He knows what attitudes and behaviors look best on us! He's not as harsh as some of the TV show hosts, but He does delight in trashing our selfish, proud, mean-spiritedness, and impatient outfits! He helps us see ourselves in the mirror of His Word so that we can toss out any "fashion statements" that reflect moodiness, discontentedness, resentment and bitterness.
 
He knows what not to wear because He paid the highest price to purchase what to wear—for us. The Lord has some very fine threads for us! He wants us to put on the designer garment of compassion for others—feeling their pain enough to be moved to do something about it. He wants us to accessorize our lives with kindness, humility and patience. He wants us to wear the high style of being even-tempered and willing to bear with others. Most importantly, the Lord wants us dressed to the nines by walking in forgiveness and the all-purpose garment of love.
 
It's sometimes easier said than done. When we are tired, stressed, under pressure or living by unrealistic expectations, we can find ourselves slipping into comfy, old ungodly attitudes and behaviors. The result is that we become short-fused, snippy and frustrated. (I know!) The fix is: a quick change! We can run into the dressing room of God's forgiveness and exchange those old duds for the clothing He has provided! He wants us to put off old clothes and put on the new clothes!
 
I remember the first time this passage of Scripture was brought to my attention—30 years ago. I spent the summer of 1979 with a group of 50 other Campus Crusade for Christ students on a Summer Project at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. For 13 weeks, we lived, worked, played, grew, worshiped and bonded together—and every day we shared Jesus and the Four Spiritual Laws with complete strangers on the beach. On the first day of that Summer Project, the leaders gathered all of us together and told us to memorize the passage in Colossians 3:12-13. They knew that anytime you put 50 zealous, young, carnal, college kids—25 girls and 25 guys—in a giant beach house to grow, mature and share the gospel—you are bound to have attitudes, "people issues" and lots of flesh having fits. They were right. Memorizing this passage and learning how to clothe ourselves with God's attire has turned out to be a huge and continual life lesson.
 
Need some help with your spiritual fashion these days? I encourage you to clothe yourself in God's attire. Listen to how the Message Bible puts this passage:
 
"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, Message)

"Father, I thank You for the clothing You have provided for me. Jesus paid a mighty high price by shedding His blood so that I could clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even-temper, contentment, forgiveness and love. I have been wearing some old, ugly attitudes and I ask You to forgive me. Help me to put off the old clothes and help me to put on these new threads every day. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

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