|photo by Ani-Bee||via PhotoRee|
Have you ever attended an event in all the wrong attire?
Too dressy at a casual event can appear too eager, too casual at a dressy event can earn the label Frumpy. I was once told minivans make you look frumpy and now I own one, but that’s another story and totally off topic.
I was thinking about this, not because I had again shown up in the wrong clothing, but because I’ve been studying the book of Colossians and had a light bulb moment this morning.
In chapter 3, Paul talks about putting off the old man and putting on the new man.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13
We discussed this in bible study the other day, this “putting on” is an intentional action rather than a passive experience that just comes over a believer. For some reason, as I imagined this putting off and putting on in the imagery of clothing, I imagined it as a carefree, joyful time of choosing an outfit to go out with friends. This morning, as I was thinking over these verses on bearing one another’s burdens and going out into battle in this world, I began to see a more fitting image.
This isn’t a dressing up to go out with friends. This is a gearing up for battle.
As one on the front lines, Paul was faithful to remind believers of the seriousness of the battle they were engaged in. I have a friend in the military and she speaks of going out on missions in dangerous places. Every time she goes out she has to be ready to lay it all down.This may be her last day, her last breath, her last moment, she counts the cost. She can dress with the best of them and with some really nice tone to her muscles, but not in battle. In battle she is alert, on guard and ready to do what it takes.
When life is viewed as a battle ground, enemy fire is not a surprise. Putting on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility .. sounds lovely and flowery, like a spring dress. In reality, these traits require a strength of character and help from God. To bear one another’s burdens is to carry a load not our own, this isn’t done in high heels and jewelry, this job requires work clothes. As a soldier prepares for battle in a spirit of contemplation, resolute strength and courage, so too, we must get dressed, be ready and allow God to be our quiet strength.