“Put on…”

2 Sep

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

Colossians 3:12-14

Did you catch that verb phrase in the beginning of verse 12? We are commanded to “put on” the list of attributes that follows.

When I began reading this passage, I immediately began thinking of the application in terms of clothing. Then when I searched out the Greek meaning of this phrase it literally means to invest with clothing, in the sense of sinking into a garment! I love how God’s Word always has a practical application. It’s not so complicated that it takes a scholar to understand, and I’m thankful for that!  

As Christians, our behavior should be Christ-like, and here in verses 12-14, he is giving us much-needed advice as to how to accomplish that. Paul is admonishing us as believers to dress according to the name that we bear. In three short verses, he lists 8 things that we should “put on” every morning before we face the day ahead of us.

First, its “bowels of mercies and kindness.” Every day, as we kneel before the Lord, we should petition Him for a kind and merciful spirit with which to interact with others. 

Then we are to “put on” “humbleness of mind” realizing that we are dust, no better than our brother, full of sin without a Savior, only brought into this royal family through the blood of our Sinless Sacrifice. Clothed in humility is the only true way to be kind and merciful to others.

Next comes “meekness.” Over the summer, I studied this quality at length learning that it has just as much to do with our relationship with the Lord as it has to do with our dealings with others. Meekness is the ability to do what is needful without the need for recognition. Meekness is the ability to say nothing though self says that there is much that needs to be said. Meekness realizes that we are but mere men and points others to the glory of a Humble Savior that quietly bore the burden of Sin that was crushing any hope we had for a meaningful today or for an Eternity in Heaven. Meekness means that we realize we will never arrive, spiritually speaking, that there will always be more that we can learn about our loving Lord, always be areas in which we can “grow up into Him” (Eph. 4:15)  even more thus making us students of Scripture as we seek to do so.

Following meekness is “longsuffering.” Another quality I studied along with the fruit of the Spirit a few months ago.I learned that the word long-suffering comes from the Greek word ‘mathrothmia,’ meaning longanimity, forbearance, fortitude, patience. After discovering this, I then had to look up “longanimity.” The definition of this word being ‘the patient enduring of hardship, injuries, or offense. Daily, we are to “put on” an attitude of longsuffering. Regardless of what the coming day holds or doesn’t hold (which is probably more apt to frustrate me) we are to be patient as we endure it. It goes back to a heart that is trusting the Hand that is in control of it all. A deep and abiding trust in His timing will enable us to be longsuffering knowing that His way is perfect. So again this attribute deals with our response to the Lord and also with our response to others. If our day brings an offense or injury at the expense of another, it will be easier to do if we’ve already “put on longsuffering.

Verse 13 brings two qualities that may be difficult for some of us to choose from the closet of Christian character, but if  we are too truly be like Him, we must. We are challenged to “put on” an ability to “forbear” and “forgive” others. Did you know that to forbear literally means to put up with in the Greek! As “holy and beloved” of God, we are to put up with the people in our lives. I don’t believe that we are to put up with sin, but to esteem one another better than ourselves. (Phil. 2:3) Realizing that our way may not necessarily be the way, but to always make sure we evaluate everything in light of Scripture and to only voice concern when His Word is not being followed. As far as forgiveness goes, we should “put on” this attribute in order to respond in a godly way when we have a disagreement with another brother or sister. Living in light of all He has forgiven us for will make wearing forgiveness a blessing instead of a burden.

This brings us to the final yet most important “garment,” putting on “charity.” Verse 14 tell us that this quality is the “bond of perfectness.” In other words, this is the garment that ties it all together. It’s the piece that makes the outfit, so to speak. If we have the first seven without the eighth, we have nothing. The Apostle tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:1 that without love we’re just making a lot of noise, Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

So as we go to the Word of God, seeking the right attire to be pleasing to Him, we must remember to “put on” the things listed here in Colossians chapter 3. Then throughout the day, as we face people and situations that may be challenging, pause frequently to ask the question of ourselves, “What am I wearing?” to ensure we have kept on the things we “put on” during our morning prayer time.

*reposted from March 2010 but yet  fitting as I prepare for a new school year! I am praying that I will put on these things each morning before I stand before my students!* Happy September, friends!


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