And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. Matthew 6:28-29 (NASB)
I spent a good bit of last week doing laundry for my daughter, and now I have to catch up on my own. Since Kristina has lost a lot of weight, I also tried to take a bunch of clothing to a used clothing store for her last week too, but they wouldn’t take any of it, They only take things from this year or last. The labels inside date the clothing. It didn’t matter to them that the clothes were from stores like Banana Republic, or that they were in pristine condition, most still in dry cleaning bags. I was appalled. “Why would someone sell you something they only bought a few weeks ago?” I asked. She assured me people do it all the time because they get tired of it and want it gone. How do you get tired of something you’ve only worn once or twice? How did we become this disposable society?
So it seemed apropos to me that our Connect Group lesson this week was from Colossians 3:12-17, and entitled, “All Dressed Up and Someplace to Go.” It’s all about putting off the grave clothes of sin and the old life, and putting on the “grace-clothes” of holiness and the new life in Christ. “…put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…beyond all these things, put on love.”
One of the ladies in class asked how did this passage differ from the Galatians passage where some of these same things are listed as fruits of the Spirit which we’re gifted with at salvation. Her point was that these gifts are given to us, and we can’t “work them up” within ourselves. God has to develop them within us. I said since we were using a wardrobe metaphor, maybe we could see it as we had all these things hanging in our closet from our salvation, but we had to put them on and use them if we wanted to wear them each day, That’s our choice. Of course we can also choose to wear the old dirty grave clothes of anger, critical attitudes, lying, gossip, etc. Maybe some of those things in our lives are like that old torn dirty t-shirt we refuse to get rid of. Unfortunately, we do still have that old nature hanging around to do battle for our attention, but we don’t have to give in to it. We don’t have to wear dirty laundry. Greater is He who is in me…
I took Kristina’s stuff to Goodwill for her. The guy there said he doubted most of it would make it out onto the floor. He said the employees would have a field day with it. I guess that’s one advantage of working there—first choice of the good stuff. I do remember when I worked at Northern Reflections. Truck day was heavenly. Like kids in a candy store, we would ooh and ah over the new arrivals. We were required to wear the store’s clothing from the new season, but we did get a 50% discount on it. (Maybe if I were still working there, I would be selling off some of the old stuff to the used clothing store, but I doubt it. I still wear some of my clothes from there, and I haven’t worked there in over fourteen years. I do still wear it, but only when it’s clean.)
Do I wear a heart of compassion, kindness, humbleness, longsuffering, and all these other qualities though? I confess, not nearly often enough. Sometimes I just hide in my own little room, writing for hours on end. or watching TV, or reading, and never even get out of my pajamas. Lord, help me to see my life as You see it, and have a heart of love for Your world today.
Love. The fruit of the Spirit is Love. Love manifests itself as joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. It’s like the mantle that covers all those other virtues. What will you wear today?