Have you found the perfect dress for your Holiday party this year? It can be daunting to find just the right fit while fighting the holiday crowds. Sometimes Scripture passages can feel as daunting as holiday shopping, but then we discover how much wisdom they hold. A text might appear overwhelming when you first look at it, but then when you try it on for size, you discover how fitting God’s design is for your life.
Colossians 3:12-17 is one of these passages:
"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. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way" (Colossians 3:12-17 MSG).
Sometimes I grow tired of my spiritual wardrobe; other time I don't seem to quite fit into it. There is too much of me to fit into that pair of pants! My grudge holding, fault finding, and angry attitude are like muffin tops over the waistband, revealing how I've concentrated on filling myself with the wrong things. I feel like someone has snuck into my house overnight and replaced my spiritual clothing with that of someone much younger and thinner, someone much more holy than myself.
But the truth is that this wardrobe of godly living was chosen specifically for me. Each characteristic fits perfectly even when it feels uncomfortably tight. Particularly love. Love is the little black dress of lifestyles! Always appropriate, it can be dressed down or dressed up for any and every occasion. Love slenderizes and minimizes us, making our own lives less visible and bringing glory to God.
And there are beautiful accessories to love: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline. These are the clutch purse and shawls in our life-in-Christ wardrobe. And being even-tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive? These are the scarves and jewelry perfectly completing our ensemble! It is true; most times I don't feel like these items were made for me. I either feel uncomfortable and uptight, or like a little girl with her mama's shoes clomping on the marble floor, echoing to the whole world, "She's only pretending! This isn't who she really is!" But the opposite is true! He has provided all that I need to do life in a way that pleases him! I was chosen for this wardrobe. The items were picked out with me in mind. They are sitting in my closet waiting to be put on and enjoyed.
Whatever position in which you find yourself (parent, spouse, employee, friend, grandparent), this is the wardrobe your Father has provided! It suits you perfectly and is always appropriate. This holiday remember that no matter what you wear on the outside, dress yourself in God's love. Confidently step into all that he has for you. The world is waiting to see him exalted as the designer of love.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra