March 16th 2010

The Christian’s Clothing

1st of a Series

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

These qualities, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are representations, in part, of God’s own character and are brought to each one of us by the Holy Spirit.  In another passage in the letter to the Galatians, Paul calls them the fruit of the Spirit.  Each of these qualities, and several others, reside in us because the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

Many think that they are to generate these qualities and so become like Jesus.  But these qualities are of and from God.  We don’t need to generate them –  they have already been put in us.  What we need to do is allow them to flow out of us.

The problem is that we have to resist our normal inclination to do otherwise.  Our natural tendency is to not care, not be kind, not be humble, not be gentle and not to be patient.  That is why the Apostle Paul spoke of putting off the old self and putting on the new.  This is done by resisting the natural and allowing the Spirit to flow through us in these new qualities.  Paul actually says we are to mortify, put to death, the deeds of the flesh.

This clothing comes to us as a gift from God at our conversion.  That conversion is pictured by the sacrament of baptism.  Notice what Paul says to the churches in Galatia, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27

Clothing is what is seen outwardly and these qualities – the clothing that we receive in Christ – should be visible to all who come into contact with us.

Prayer

Father in heaven, thank you for the qualities of Jesus with which you have clothed me.  May I make this raiment visible to all whom I meet this day.

Amen

Study by David Stirk

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