“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 3:12–14, NIV)
I just love these verses in Colossians! I find them to be very encouraging and enlightening as to how my Christian life is supposed to look. The first thing that should hit us every morning when we wake up is that we are “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Did you wake up that way today? If not, you failed to see yourself the way God sees you. I think it is vitally important to our Christian life that we see it as God sees it. Too much emphasis is put on us, when it needs to be put on God. God loves us “dearly”, and for that we should be eternally grateful.
Given that we are “God’s chosen people,” Paul directs us to once again clothe ourselves with God’s characteristics. Again, note the intentional nature of this direction. He is not saying to get out there and live your day and evaluate it at the end. He is saying, “Let’s start at the very beginning of the day and intentionally clothe ourselves with Christ-like characteristics. Notice again the reference to the fruit of the Holy Spirit (compassion, kindness, humility, etc). Did you put those qualities and characteristics on today?
Paul goes on to say, “Bear and forgive one another.” This is the story of our Christian lives. Just as the Lord has to bear and forgive our many sins on a daily basis, we are called to do the same to others. It is in our bearing and forgiving that they (those around us) will get introduced to the God who lives in us. We are to forgive others as Jesus forgives us. In this way, they can be introduced to the love and grace of God that has redeemed and saved us.
Finally, Paul says that we should put on “love”. We should clothe ourselves with the same love that we have experienced from God Himself. We need to love our neighbors unconditionally. Again, we clothe ourselves with the attributes of Jesus so that others may see Him in us.
I think if we remember just one thing this morning–that God has chosen us, and that we are holy and dearly loved by Him–a lot of the other details will take care of themselves. I think the more we see ourselves as God sees us, the more we reflect His nature in our daily lives.