“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).
In yesterday’s devotional we talked about Paul’s uses of the “Put” commands regarding our sins: Put to death, Put away, and Put off. Then he followed that with the command to Put on the new self. But Paul didn’t stop there. In the passage above Paul takes us even further, deeper, in his command to put on by describing in more detail what that looks like. Notice the kinds of things we need to put on. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing, forgiveness, and love.
Love is the most important command of all. Love is what makes these other things possible. Compassion is a expression of love. Kindness demonstrates love. Humility and meekness shows love’s selflessness. Patience and bearing with one another are expressions of love. And then there is forgiveness. God’s ultimate expression of love is his forgiveness expressed on the cross through Jesus’ suffering and death for our sin.
What is so important to this list of thoughts and behaviors is Paul’s first words in the passage. He says to “Put on.” Have you ever put on your clothes by accident? One minute you are undressed and then, boom, you are dressed and looking presentable without even thinking about what to wear? Except for the occasional mismatched socks, chance are, no. Getting dressed in a conscience act of the will. What will I wear today? What will look good? What will be presentable to others in my wardrobe? You can ask these same questions about what kinds of thoughts and behaviors we should, “Put on” each day. We must dress ourselves, spiritually, on purpose, making ourselves presentable to the world, that Christ might be honored. No one gets dressed on accident. And neither do we dress ourselves with spiritual things on accident. We must do so with an act of the will, in submission to God.
“Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10).
What have you “Put on” today? What are you wearing right now?