As a quick update, the shack went very well! I came out on October 19th. We broke the $40,000 mark and are excited about the next places God is leading us as we prepare to enter into a new year. Thank you for your faithfulness and generosity!
Hmmm….what to wear today?
If you were to think of the list of clothing items you put on each day, you would have a good list that depending on the weather, may cover you from head to toe. At a basic level, clothing is functional. It protects us from the elements and of course unless we are part of a nudist colony… well… we prefer to be covered and we like others to be covered as well. 🙂
Women may agonize over clothing. Sometimes it is a half hour ordeal or more to figure out what we are going to wear; what shoes will match; what earrings should I don on , etc. Selecting the right array of colors for the season, what textures and fabrics go together, and should I wear heals or flats? Men may not go through as much, but they still may be in the area of jeans, kakis and polo, or the three piece suit. Face it-what we wear is important. In many ways, our clothing defines us. We relate to a particular image. Our attire says a lot about who we are and sometimes what is important to us. And, we’ll spend quite a bit of money on it as well.
When Paul writes in Colossians, he writes to a group of believers caught up in the first century version of worldliness. At the other end of the spectrum, this group of early Christians is also engaged in many acts of ascetics. They are being very careful to follow the laws, the regulations, keep the festivals, and engage in acts of extreme piety. Paul calls them to something different realizing these external activities are not getting them closer to following Jesus.
Usually at the end of the day, when I get home, I want to relax. If I have had several business meetings during the day and have dressed a little more formally then when I get home, like you, it’s time to slip into something more comfortable. I want to fling off those clothing items that constrict me and put on something more flowing, freeing, and easier to get around in-an ease of motion if you will.
There must have been some parallels even in Paul’s day. But Paul, following in the footsteps of Jesus, goes deeper than our outer surface and to the interior; to the heart. He tells the Colossians that there are things they need to fling off: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. Further on, he adds to this list anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.
He counters this by telling them also what to put on. This list sounds such much better: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another, forgive one another, act in peace, be thankful and put on love. (Colossians 3:12-13).
If we slow down and chew on this list, we realize how much intention goes into that. What if we are agonizing over the blend of compassion, gentleness, humility? What if we realize it is going to be a long, tough day and having more patience will be necessary? If we spent as much time clothing our interior with the attributes of God’s heart and spirit and less over the externals, what a difference that would make. Similarly, Paul balances his list of things we should cast off as well. Some of those reference our moral side such as improper sexual acts but then he again goes to the heart with poisonous attributes such as greed, anger, and malice.
As we approach each day and select our wardrobe, what if we intentionally put on these interior clothing pieces as well? We will most certainly be dressed for success no matter what the occasion and hopefully our interior will give light to what is on the outside. Put on the colorful sweater and add compassion with it. Slide on our jeans and make sure patience comes along too. Decide greed has no place and get rid of it completely. Paul gives us some results of this. It will be easier to forgive and to interact in peace and grace when we have donned on those inner characters. Then under times of stress and challenge people will see our true colors and our true natures. Ones that are lived out of constant union with the Holy Spirit. As a friend of mine said, “the fruit is the root”.
Hope you have a blessed day and your wardrobe for the day be pleasing to God and to others!