I remember the excitement that came before any party, formal, mixer, etc. during my undergrad years. I remember the laughter and camaraderie that signaled the revelry to come, echoing throughout the Fraternity house. I also remember putting on my nicest suit, or my favorite polo - or Eddie Bauer / Patagonia quarter-zip - depending on the evening's event. I also put on other things - Fraternity pin, cologne, and the gold chain link necklace my grandfather gave me - almost as a ritualistic way to get ready. Honestly, it was like a ritual - because I was putting on other things that weren't quite as tangible- like confidence, (what I thought was) a charming smile, and as much charisma that I could muster. I wanted to put on a persona that would make me not just a guy, but the guy.
Last week we studied Colossians 3:1-11. As an illustration, we were presented with an image of losing the worn out, almost ugly, piece of clothing that we've clung to. In Chapter 3 Verses 9-10 Paul challenged the church to "put (throw) off the old self with its practices and to put on the new self." So, this week we will be asking what is it that we are supposed to put on- what is the new self?
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Questions to Consider
Paul gives a few commands throughout verses 13-17. What is the common theme between each of his instructions?
Why would Paul ask others to have "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" and to bear with on another?
What is the connection between ensuring that we put on love (vs 14), letting the word of Christ dwell in us (vs 16), and doing everything in the name of our Lord Jesus?
If I'm honest - the series of events that I detailed leading up to parties or formals had nothing to do with others. There was no humility, there was undoubtedly no singing of Psalms, and I wasn't dwelling on the teachings of Christ. I put on the things of the world - and throughout my growth, as a Christian, I had to learn how to put off the things I formerly put on.
I didn't need to be, "the guy", I needed to know my worth in Christ.
Friends, it's my firm conviction that Jesus doesn't just take away our old life, instead, in every case He invites us to put on something new - something abundant, vibrant, and wholesome. We have the opportunity to enter into a new creation. Part of getting there, friends, is deciding what it is that we put on. So, what about you? What is it that you're deciding to put on - is it the selfless love of Christ that makes all things new, or are you holding onto the old musky stuff of the past that you know is keeping you back?