I have never enjoyed spending time at the mall. I get cranky wandering around the vast expanse of tile flooring, passing what seems to be a thousand shops shouting that their goods are the best. I have nothing against people, but shopping and practicing my dodging skills while saying “excuse me” multiple times is not my thing. I would prefer to stay home and do without that shirt or pair of jeans than brave the mad house they call a “mall.”
However, I am a clothing thrift store addict. There I can find decent clothing for a quarter of the price. Unlike the mall, it holds a variety of styles from seasons past. This is especially handy as I like to dress according to my style preferences rather than looking just like everyone else. And as icing on the cake, the crowds are generally obsolete! It gives me great pleasure when I can walk away with multiple things, my sanity and my checkbook intact. Once I make it home and take off the tags, I can confidently wear my new wardrobe additions that represent me.
When we go shopping, we generally know what we’re looking for. We know the size and style that works for us, and many times, what store carries them. We have a closet filled with what we prefer the most. Just the same, God has a wardrobe of hand picked outfits that He’s designed for us – outfits that He’d like to see us put on and flaunt every day. They’re modest, beautifully handcrafted, name-brand attributes that draw attention to the One who made them.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message)
Let’s look in detail at that wardrobe:
Compassion:Instead of feeling numb towards someone’s unfortunate plight, God encourages us to think and act like Him. With His wisdom, we can reach out and assist where we’re needed most.
Kindness: This is a deep-down care and affection that doesn’t look at whether or not the person deserves it. When we are kind, we are friendly and generous to all.
Humility: Because we know who made us, we don’t brag about our successes. All the glory goes to God when we succeed. And should we make a mistake in our relationships, we are quick to admit our wrong and make things right.
Quiet Strength: We do not force ourselves into hard situations and loudly take control at the expense of everyone else. We can be firm in our decision, but gentle in our approach.
Discipline: When we’re disciplined, we know our priorities. We can get the most important things of life done, even when we don’t feel like it. We take the wheel of our lives, rather than letting our fleshly desires lead the way.
Even-tempered: While moody people are hard to please, we can choose to let God’s nature on the inside of us decide how we’re going to act and feel. We’re not changing from one moment to the next, but staying well-balanced in every situation.
Content with Second Place: If someone gets first place, we are content and secure. We rejoice when others get the promotion, win the prize, or receive the recognition. We know we will one day receive the same as we hold to our integrity.
Quick to Forgive: When we’re quick to forgive, we don’t let the sun go down while we’re angry. We immediately forgive because we know God forgave us the moment the first drop of blood fell from the Cross.
Love: While loving with God’s love, we willingly sacrifice our desires for the benefit of someone else. We choose to put others first, laying down our lives just as Jesus lay down His life for us.
When we were born again, all these characteristics were “hung” in the closet of our lives. They were designed to fit our “style” – the style of God’s nature in us. They’re not too big or too small. And unlike a shopping trip to the mall, they didn’t cost us a thing. Since God purchased these garments for us, it’s our job to take them off the hanger and put them on. There’s no need to head for the fitting room. We just make a decision every morning that we’re going to wear them. The more we read about these outfits, value them, and stay close to their Designer, the more we’ll see them gracing our lives for all to see!