Thursday, May 21, 2009

Put on your clothes!

When you woke up this morning, how long did you spend getting ready to head out the door? Did you take a while trying to pick out what to wear? Are you one of those people who picks out their clothes the night before? Did it need ironing (mine did)? How long did you spend on your hair? Makeup? Shaving? Making oneself presentable can take a little while, can’t it? That’s especially true if you’re trying to make a good impression. I admit that I spend a little more time getting ready on Sunday mornings than I do on Saturday mornings. Who of us hasn’t agonized over which shirt or dress to wear on a date?

For all the effort we put into our physical appearances, the apostle Paul writes we should put even more effort into our spiritual appearances. He writes that we are to “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience . . . and over all these virtues put on love.” What a beautiful image. Every morning, just as we put on our physical clothes, we are to clothe ourselves with those virtues that make us look like Jesus. Paul’s words remind us that this clothing is often a conscious effort. If I don’t choose to wear kindness today, I’ll likely be mean spirited. If I forget to consciously choose to put on humility, I run the risk of being caught in public wearing only my pride (far worse than being caught in your bathrobe if you ask me!).

But how do we choose such things? Well, just like it takes time to get physically ready in the morning, it also takes time to get spiritually ready. Spend time in God’s word which acts as a mirror for our souls. Spend time in prayer actually asking God to dress you up for the day. You can even do both at once. You could memorize this verse (Colossians 3:12-14) by writing it on a note card and putting it on your bathroom mirror. Then use it as a centering prayer as you get ready every morning. That is, repeat the verse in the form of a prayer over and over as you comb your hair and brush your teeth and take a shower as a way of getting dressed up in these virtues. And as you head out the door, don’t forget the most important part of all, throw on that coat of love which binds up the whole Christian life in one beautiful ensemble.

Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature – Romans 13:13-14.

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