Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, may I put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with others and forgiving others . . .”
Paul exhorted Christians to take on or assume certain virtues and qualities befitting the elect of God. This is a difficult exercise unless one has been endowed with intrinsic attributes in this area. I’ve yet to come across anyone who has not struggled to some degree with this commission. We all are in the developmental stage and have not arrived spiritually.
Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with others and forgiving others . . . like clothes hanging in the closet, waiting for us to choose which to wear. Hmm, let’s see, I think I will put on tender mercies today; tomorrow maybe I’ll try meekness.
Oh, I don’t think Paul intended his words to be so casually addressed.
At one time or another, we have probably tried all these on, ending up with egg on our faces. Tender mercies might be easy to wear with a family member we love dearly and understand fully, but wear it in the presence of an adversary and the mercies fall flat and lifeless.
As I prepared this post, I tried to envision which virtue garment would be the one most tossed in the washer! Perhaps the humility one would stay the cleanest. Nah, with added thought, that might happen but only because of prideful thinking; not exactly what Paul had in mind. He’s down to the bone here, peering into the soul with a mega-lumen halogen light bulb.
So, I shall regroup. Be honest. Act . . . no, not act. Get out the 100-X magnifying glass and take inventory of my true motivations. Be real, in other words. The words of Christ return here in bright fluorescent color: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Now I’m in for a day-by-day, moment-by-moment lifelong exercise, as it should be. As when a person goes on a diet, the effort must become a daily habit in order to be effective. There’s no other way. Whether one dresses for other Christians or people in general, these virtues must be evident in our lives.
Perhaps the fashion trend today is a good thing, multi-layering. Looks like I’m going to try it with this virtue accessory training. Let’s see now, what goes good with tender mercies? Kindness maybe? Or better yet, how about humility underneath the longsuffering?
I think I have a long way to go here. How about you?