Who would have thought that I would one day call the 1980s the ‘good ole days’? The fashions that I like to wear are way out of style by today’s standards. I sing music that was contemporary in my teens but is now classic, and I date myself by the references and examples I use in my teaching. One of today’s headlines highlights the fashions worn to the Grammys 25 years ago, and they bring a chuckle as I view them.
Time passes. Fashions change. Likes and dislikes seem as variable as the wind.
But there are a few things that don’t go out of fashion. God tells me seven things to put on that will always be in style.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 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. (ESV)
Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness – seven traits that all the best dressed Christians wear. I love the way that God tells me to “put on” these traits. In other words, I make a choice of allowing these characteristics to be evident in my life.
They don’t cost money, but they do cost me in the giving of myself. They require me to be God centered rather than me centered.
Compassion – Sympathy and concern for the plights of others, compassion is the opposite of indifference and apathy. Compassion governs how I react when I see those in need.
Kindness – Goodwill and care expressed in how we react and how we conduct ourselves each day.
Humility – I call this a proper view of myself, not thinking of myself more highly than others. Humility is embedded in the trait of meekness.
Meekness – Someone has defined this as strength in weakness. While it involves submission, it does not mean doormat. Meekness does not promote itself, but it does remain true to the best.
Patience – Oh dear! Here is THAT word. Patience involves humility and meekness. It is the willingness to wait for the good of others. It tolerates inconvenience without complaint and bitterness.
Forbearance – This is literally putting up with. Everyone will not do things my way, but I am called to love them anyway.
Forgiveness – The icing on the cake of the other traits. Forgiveness releases hurts and moves forward with grace. Forgiveness recognizes what Christ has done for me and extends that grace to others.
These traits align with the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.(ESV)
This tells me that I need His indwelling and power to fully ‘put on’ these traits. They are at odds with my human nature, but He is able to produce this fruit in my life when I yield to Him.
I don’t know if you have looked in the mirror today, but I have. I need to work on putting on the timeless styles that God provides for His children.
James 1: 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (ESV)