I can’t think of any woman out there whoever admits to having enough clothes. Sunday morning often gets the best of me. My roommate walks into the bedroom and looks at me like I am crazy.
I can’t really blame her. She often finds me standing stock still, staring at a closet full of clothes, saying, “I don’t have anything to wear.”
Some mornings, the room looks like my closet erupted, spewing clothes all over the room and shoes all over the floor. And there I am in the middle of it all, staring blankly at clothes I don’t want (or can’t) wear. By the time I get to church, my rushed makeup job doesn’t hide my hideous attitude. When that happens, the problem is not my clothes. It’s the fact that I have forgotten to put on the most important things.
Colossians 3:12-14 says:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
You see, no matter what clothes I am wearing, there are a few accessories a Christian woman should never go without. According to the verses above, we should always wear compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love.
Why? Because we are God’s people, “holy and dearly loved,” and we need to live like it. The question is: How?
Let us take a look at each aspect of a well-dressed Christian woman and see how we can put on those positive traits. Will you join me?
When I hear the word “compassion,” I almost automatically think of a young girl named Aisha, a student and almost never receive money from the family who sponsors her. “Compassion” makes me think of the organization that provides food and medical care for people like her all over the world. I don’t often think of my own heart. But I should because compassion is the first thing Paul mentions when he tells us what we should be wearing every day. Compassion is the first item on our list of accessories. It’s important.
Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
In Zechariah 7, the Lord said, “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.”
As Christians, we should care about the needs of others. They should matter to us because they matter to God. We should be compassionate because he is.
“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion,” according to Psalm 116:5.
In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us a glimpse into how important our compassion is to Christ. He said that whatever we do for others, we do for him. Neglecting their needs is neglecting our God.
Kindness and compassion go hand in hand, don’t they? Compassion is noticing and caring about needs. Kindness is acting on the compassion we feel.
Proverbs 14:31 says, “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
Of course, we can show kindness with more than our actions. Our words have the power to show kindness as well.
After all, “anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25)
We live in a world of worries; our words can help those weighed down by them.
A Christian woman who is kind can have a huge impact on the world around her. Think of the woman in Proverbs 31, who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Verse 20) She is an example of the truth in Proverbs 11:16, which says, “a kindhearted woman gains honor.”
Of course, as a Christian woman wearing the seven accessories of Colossians 3, I should not be out for honor. I should be humble, just like Christ.
Ladies, we need to obey the words of Philippians 2:3-4, which says, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
Sometimes, Humility goes against everything in us and always against the ways of the world around us. But it is the way of Christ.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
As Peter puts it: “All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5)
- Gentleness and patience
When we have true humility, it’s not nearly as hard to be gentle and patient.
Why? Because we stop expecting so much. We don’t lose our tempers as quickly because we know just how often we fail, too. When we are humble, we can be patient because we recognize that our needs might not be the most important at any given time. We become more like Christ, who was gentle though all-powerful, and patient though perfect.
I think of a woman, hurrying around, busy with all she had to do and an attitude to match the look on her face.
“Don’t you care?” she asked. “Tell her to help me!”
I may be wrong, but in my mind, I imagine a soft voice saying, “Martha, Martha…”
He wanted her to rest at his feet. He wants the same for us. When we do, other things get put into perspective.
Like our own sin, this makes it so much easier to forgive the sins of others.
When I was in my first year in the university and still carried baggage from past dealings with people Colossians 3:13 changed my life because I couldn’t do it.
It says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
How on earth? Do you know how the Lord forgives? Completely.
Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
They are gone. He gets rid of them and then do you know what he does? He forgets they ever happened.
Hebrews 8:12 says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
That’s the part I couldn’t get my head and heart around. How can I forgive like that? I mean, am I the only one who remembers the pain of the past? I wanted to forgive but couldn’t forget.
Finally, I realized that I had a choice. Every single day. Each time I remembered the pain, I repeated the promise: I forgive. Because God had a choice, too, and like my decision to forgive helped restore my relationship with those who hurt me, God’s decision to forgive restores his relationship with us.
That’s what he wants, after all. He wants to reconcile the world to himself. Do you know what? He wants us to be part of that, and being clothed in Christ makes it possible because:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone; the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are, therefore, Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
It’s not always easy to be his ambassador, especially in a world that doesn’t want him. But “Christ’s love compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
You see, without love, none of the other items we’re wearing are worth very much. They’re like fake jewels, while they might shine and catch others’ eyes, they don’t hold up to close inspection without love, neither do we
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. And If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Love is more than a feeling; it’s a mark of our faith.
Jesus said, “By this, everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Love is more than merely an emotion. It’s who we are because it’s who he is. After all, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
So, “we love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Above all the other accessories Paul says to put on, love is the one we should never leave home without.
Do you wear these virtues enough? You can start today putting off irrelevancies and consciously under God, put on these accessories to foster our relationship with the master unto a higher calling
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