Go Ahead…Put it On!

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

Have you noticed toddlers who take off their clothes the very first moment they can? These toddlers love walking around in their undies or diapers. They hate clothes.

What we clothes wearers have forgotten is how restrictive and uncomfortable clothes are. You see, after years of wearing clothes, we’ve gotten used to how clothes make us feel. In fact, after years of donning all our clothes, we feel naked without them!

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.

What a fantastic list! These are virtues every disciple of Jesus aspires to. These are all God-honoring, people-honoring virtues.

The million dollar question is how can we make these virtues our virtues? How can we live in such a way, these words describe our character and our lives?

The key phrase is “clothe yourselves.” The Greek verb is, enduo. It literally means to put on or clothe yourself. And, of course, it is an imperative. What is interesting is that this verb is written in the middle voice. What that means is that the subject acts both as the actor and the receiver/experiencer of the action. For instance, “Bob hurt himself playing basketball.” The “hurt” is in the middle voice.

What does all that mean? Great question.

First, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, etc. are not things that happen automatically. They are not a part of us. These are virtues and qualities that need to be put on.

Second, the validity of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, etc. have nothing to do with how we feel. We might be feeling quite angry, frustrated, anxious, etc. And that is precisely the times we are to put on, and clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, etc. We need to put these things on precisely because we are feeling the absence of them.

Third, when we first try putting these virtues on, they feel restrictive and uncomfortable. It is much more natural to let our anger, outbursts, jealousies, frustrations to flow. It takes will and intentionality to put on these virtues.

Finally, when we choose to put on these virtues, we become the recipient/the experiencers of these virtues! The more we practice the art of putting on these virtues, the more natural they become. One day they become a part of us. So much so, that when they are absent, we feel naked.

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.

Go ahead! Put it on. Clothe yourselves.

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