Let Christ Be in You—A Good Fit

By Greg Clark of Independence, Missouri, USA

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…  Colossians 3:12–16

I dragged myself out of bed this morning and, bleary-eyed, walked to my closet. I picked out blue slacks, a sweater, and a gray shirt. From my chest-of-drawers I grabbed some underwear and what I hoped were blue socks. Then I slowly dressed for work. That’s so much easier than clothing myself the way God asks.

When I dress for work, I put on…well, clothes. When I dress for God, I’m told to clothe myself “with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” And “above all, love.”

When I dress for me, I’m pretty much the only person (except maybe my wife) who cares that my socks and slacks don’t match. When I dress for God, every person I meet—and many I’ll never see—might be affected if I don’t do it right.

It’s all about relationships. If I don’t dress the way God wishes—the way Paul instructs the Colossians—I’m guaranteed to hurt others. Friends. Family. Co-workers. Virtually everybody I contact.

I also hurt those I never see. If I’m not clothed right, I don’t act with the grace and generosity that can help others, even those in faraway places. I even hurt my relationship with myself. When I clothe myself with anger, apathy, and avarice, I’m assured of feeling grumpy throughout the day. More important, I provide a rotten example of the qualities a disciple should model, the same qualities with which Jesus wants me to clothe myself.

Then I not only hurt my relationship with other people, I hurt my relationship with God. I become less than God made me to be.

So next time I dress in the morning, I’ll try to put on my best clothes first. And then I’ll worry about picking out a shirt, sweater, and slacks.

Prayer for Peace:

Holy and loving God, we will put on love for you and our companions. We will don garments of compassion and patience. We will be kind. We will wear the peace of Christ in our hearts.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Joy of Gratitude

Stand, if possible, with arms outstretched. Imagine God filling your arms with all that you have: family, friends, and possessions. Hold out your arms until they feel tired. Now, bring your arms across your body. Place your hand over your heart and thank God for the abundance that fills your life. Sit for a time aware of that abundance. Then ask God to help you open your heart in gratitude and share freely with others in deepest gratitude.

Peace Covenant:

God, today I will be mindful to show grace and generosity to others, knowing it will affect relationships.

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