I used to watch a show called “What Not to Wear”. The hosts would go through the closet of a frumpily dressed woman and would comment on how unacceptable her current wardrobe was. After throwing out quite a few items of her clothing, they would tell the exasperated guest what she SHOULD be wearing and send her on a shopping spree. By the end of the episode, the woman would be sharply dressed from head to toe and would meet up with her friends and family in her new fashions which would be met with overwhelming approval.
These days, you don’t have to watch a show, just go through your social media feed. You see pictures of what the “best dressed women” are wearing, and are inundated with boutique clothing shops, not to mention companies like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club and Wantable that will provide you with new clothes in the latest trends every month without having to shop.
A few years ago the “tunic and leggings” style was in. Then came yoga pants. Even better. That was it for me. It was comfortable. It covered bumps and bulges. And if I gained or lost a few pounds it would still fit.
So although fashion has moved on to other things, I’ve decided my “go to” will continue to be tunics and yoga pants/leggings. If it stretches, it’s for me! And I’m mature enough to not care (too much) that I’ve been kicked off the fashion train.
In Colossians 3, Paul talks about our new life in Christ. He tells us that we are to take off the old nature that was led by worldly desires. In place of that, we are to “clothes ourselves” with our new nature. And he lists these items of spiritual clothing in Colossians 3:12-14.
Some translations say “bowels of mercy”. It goes beyond empathy to a gut-level occurrence when becoming aware of the needs of others. This is your foundation garment. Like the feeling of Spanx tightening around you. It’s a palpable experience that is undeniable.
This type of kindness is more that being nice. This is looking for ways to be helpful to others. Looking out for others above yourself.
Humility is a tricky characteristic. It’s not about wearing frumpy clothes to make yourself invisible. It is like wearing a modest top instead of one that is revealing. It is a conscious decision not to draw attention to yourself. Instead, it’s a characteristic that is revealed in response to God’s grace for all He has done in you and through you.
This is the opposite of the bright fluorescent lights in most dressing rooms that emphasize every flaw on our bodies. It is the golden glow of candlelight that softens each curve and wrinkle. It overlooks the obvious and highlights the potential.
This one is easy to understand, but not easy to carry out. However, if you are already wearing the items listed above, you are in a better position to wear this garment well.
This is the same as long-suffering. Making allowance for the differences of others. Everyone is unique in the way God designed them. Others make allowances for you, too.
You wear the veil of God’s forgiveness which covers you, and if you are seeing others through that veil you will be more able to forgive them.
Then as our outer covering, clothe yourself with sincere Love. Your outermost characteristic is what others will see first. This garment ties everything together and completes the outfit of a well-dressed Christian woman.
Just like in “What Not to Wear”, we are to throw out the unacceptable parts of our earthly wardrobe, and clothe ourselves in the characteristics of our new nature in Christ.
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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. 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
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