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.
Having lived my whole adult life in the northern third of the country, I know the importance of wearing a warm coat on cold winter days. Sometimes even a scarf, hat and gloves. Before leaving the house, it’s a good idea to put on what you will need to deal with the harsh realities of winter weather. What do you put on when you head out into the world? Forget the weather for a moment, what do you wear to deal with the people around you and the challenges in your life? It might help to put on some compassion and maybe a layer of humility. You will be well served by covering yourself in patience and bringing along a forgiving heart.
Earlier in chapter 3, Paul wrote about taking off those parts of our lives that lead to sin so we can put on Christ-like virtues. Now, the Spirit invites us to clothe ourselves with attitudes and behaviors that imitate Jesus, especially love. There is no more important piece of spiritual attire than love. Not only does it bind all other Christ-like virtues together, but love also allows us to reflect God’s own character into the world around us. When we love, we act like Jesus. When we love, we show the world who God is and why He sent Jesus to us. We are “dearly loved” by God, and we are called to love others through acts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.
Love is not unique to Christians, but to love as Jesus did should be our calling card, the defining characteristic of Christians and what we bring most abundantly and freely to the world. We love one another in the church. We love our neighbors, whether they are believers or not. We love people who are hurting and in need. We love people who haven’t yet recognized their need for God. We put on love, because that’s how we teach the world about Jesus and how we prove that we really are his followers. So, before you head out into the world today, clothe yourself with the virtues of Christ, especially love. May it be the first thing people notice about you and the lasting impression you leave behind.
Jesus, help me to become more like you. Fill me with compassion. Teach me kindness and gentleness. Use me to spread Your love to those in need. Thank You for loving me, now and always. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian