Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Clothes Make the Man/Woman

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… Colossians 3:12

The Clothes Make the Man/Woman

The clothes make the man/woman is a saying that has been around for a long time. The idea behind it is that we actually do make judgements on others based on their appearance – or the clothes they wear. We know that clothes don’t tell the whole story, but the way we dress can still make a difference in how others perceive us. 

Much more important that how we dress, is our character and how we behave. In Colossians 3:12 Paul tells us that as God’s chosen ones we are to “dress” a certain way. The clothing he is talking about is not clothing others can see, but they will certainly feel it, both if we do, or do not wear it. 

Paul tells us that we are to “Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…”. As Christians, we are to wrap ourselves or cover ourselves completely with these characteristics. When we become believers, we become new, and the old person goes away, but not completely. If we don’t clothe ourselves every single day with the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience of Christ, the old person can make an appearance more easily. It is that “muscle memory” Pastor Jim was talking about. When we wrap ourselves in all these things from God, it will transfer to others around us, and they will feel the clothing we put on from Him. They will feel the Lord and when this happens, we are living out the Gospel with our lives.

As believers, if we are not confident in our identity as “His chosen ones,” we will be less likely to dress like we belong to Him. When we live in that identity, we want to put on those things. This past Sunday, Pastor Jim shared three types of identity with us. 

Traditional Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on standards outside of ourself and living up to those standards gives us value and significance. This type of identity comes from what someone else puts on our lives that we feel we have to live up to. There are expectations we have to meet to be seen as valuable. 

Modern Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on subjective standards set by each individual and our self-expression gives us value and significance. With this type of identity, we set our own standard. Whatever my standard is for me is perfect and everyone else needs to validate it. It is moral relativism. Whatever I think is good is good for me. 

Gospel Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on a standard outside of ourself, in God, but living up to that standard has already been achieved in Jesus so our value and significance are found in His free gift of grace. This is where we find our true identity in Christ. Jesus achieved the standard for us because we never could. We don’t have to do anything to achieve value because He did it for us whit His free gift of grace. It is in this gift of grace that we find our new identity in Him. 

When we know who we are in Christ we can live freely in that identity. We can put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience every day because they flow from Him through us to others. Just as how we dress can influence how others perceive us, how we live our lives and treat others influences how they see Jesus. How are you “dressing” and influencing others around you for the Gospel? Do they feel the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience you put on? 

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