What Are You Wearing?
By Brent Rinehart
“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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” - Colossians 3:12-14
With our hectic schedules, marked by school events, soccer practices and other obligations, my wife and I don't get to date nearly as often as we once did. So, when we get to go out now, it's a little more special. We each think about what we are going to where – her, more so than me. I mean, I only have so many options! But, for her, whatever she decides to put on, I know it will take my breath away.
Clothing makes a huge difference in our attitudes and expectations. Dating isn’t the only time we see this. Many workplaces relax the dress code on Fridays. In our office, you can wear jeans on Fridays. It seems like a small thing, but it makes a big difference. It’s not even that jeans are necessarily more comfortable than khakis or other attire, but it’s a mindset.
There are other times we should be thinking about what we are “wearing.” Each day, in our marriage – and in our Christian walk – we should be putting something on.
The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Colossae on this topic, encouraging them to put on kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and above all, love. I've always been struck by this imagery Paul uses here. It's like a coat or a robe...we aren't automatically all of these things when we come to Christ. Sure, we are given the Holy Spirit when we follow Christ, but we still have to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). In fact, many of us are naturally the opposite of these things. I know I struggle daily in many of these areas and need God’s help. Through the Holy Spirit, we can “put on” these things and allow it to impact how we deal with others.
Think about this in the context of the home. How much better of a husband and father will I be if I were to consider daily “dressing” in patience? I know I would not get as frustrated with my wife and kids. Many days, I might “put” on patience, but it doesn’t take long for me to shed that coat as I fight traffic on my commute to and from work!
What about humility and meekness? If I'm truly putting my wife's needs and desires above my own, there's no room for disappointment when I don't get my way.” Paul also encourages us to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). This direction is intended to apply to everyone else, so shouldn’t we at least start with our spouses?
And, love? If I daily choose to put on love, there's nothing that can break our bond. If I’m wearing love, it’s impossible for me to act unlovingly. On the other hand, if I don’t make that choice and end up acting unloving, I sure hope my wife has chosen to put on love that day.
Every night, before I go to bed, I think about my attire for the next day. It’s not that I care what I’m going to wear, I just like to have a plan so I don’t have to waste time thinking about it. Let’s plan to give the same thought to the “outfit” Paul describes. Tomorrow morning when you rise, let’s put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, forgiveness and love. I’m confident that if we do, we’ll strengthen our marriages in the process.
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