Restoring our inner wardrobes is a lifelong process, but while on that journey, we need to replace old garments with new ones.
In the fashion world, they say there are certain pieces we “must have” in our wardrobe. These are: (1) white shirt, (2) black pencil skirt for women or black slacks for men, (3) dark wash jeans, (4) khaki pants, (5) trench coat, and (6) comfortable stylish shoes. Now, I don’t know about you, but I would rather know what God says about what pleases Him than what the “experts” tell me I must wear this season, which is always changing.
God’s idea of a wardrobe is different than the world’s perspective. He never changes. He is only interested on what goes on inside of us – our intentions and motives – our heart. The world is in constant competition for the “best dressed,” or the most “beautiful” person, which leaves many of us feeling gloomy about our self-image. God’s plan for you is to feel your best inside, which will have an effect on the outside. Instead of listening to the world’s designers, let us go to the “Ultimate Clothing Designer,” who can transform our inner wardrobe. *
Restoring our inner wardrobes is a lifelong process, but while on that journey, we need to replace old garments with new ones. Now, let’s examine what God’s standards are when it come to those “must have” pieces. In Colossians 3:12-14, we find six must have pieces for our Inner Wardrobe:
- “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” (MSG)
What a relief… I have read this passage many times before, but for some reason this time it stood out. What great honor it is to first of all be “chosen by God.” I remember my younger years and being last to be chosen by team members – not the best feeling! But God chose me to be “holy and dearly loved.” That sure makes me want to please Him. So, part of choosing a new wardrobe is recognizing that you wearing these garments to please God. You are doing it for Him. Yet, God is so good that there are so many benefits when we begin clothing ourselves with these six garments. Let’s look at each one more closely…
Must Have Piece #1 – Compassion
Part of your new wardrobe requires you have compassion or mercy. I love this word – COMPASSION. This word was the inspiration for this blog. Jesus was the ultimate compassionate healer. He felt deep sorrow for everyone who was hurting (you and me). But he not only felt – his compassion moved him to alleviate the suffering of the world! He died on the cross for you and me.
So, how can we clothe ourselves with compassion? There are so many opportunities to extend our hand and help someone in need. I encourage you to begin with your immediate family and friends. Ask yourself the following: What are others around me struggling with? Am I so caught up in my own life that I can’t or won’t see the pain around me? I love the song; I Refuse, by Josh Wilson. Here’s a bit of the lyrics – YouTube the song and hear it for inspiration.
Sometimes I, I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not
This world needs God, but it’s easier to stand and watch
I could pray a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong
Like the lyrics say, sometimes we just feel like closing our eyes and not see the reality we live in. God wants for us to wake up. Clothe yourself with COMPASSION! Do something. Refuse not to move!
- Heart Questions: “How do I respond to someone in need?” “What are the barriers that prevent me from moving when I see a need?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Compassion today:
- Bring blankets and food to a family in need
- Volunteer at a senior community center
- Sponsor a child in need
Must Have Piece #2 – Kindness
Now, some of you may be thinking that compassion and kindness are very similar. Although they are related, they are very different. Here’s how – Compassion is God’s heart beating inside of us – what pulls us to make the choice and help someone in need. Kindness is God’s hands extending and meeting that need. The two work together side by side. Kindness always follows compassion.
Some translations use the word goodness. I could sure use some goodness in my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when we are kind we have the opportunity to show someone a glimpse of God’s love. Our words need to be followed by actions. It’s not enough to say to someone, “I love you,” if you don’t show it in your behavior.
- Heart Questions: “In what ways do I shown kindness to my family?” “Is my attitude in harmony with the words I use?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Kindness today:
- Hug a hurting friend
- Let someone go before you in line
- Write a note of encouragement and mail it (the old fashion way)
Must Have Piece #3 – Humility
This word is not popular in our society, nor is it within Christian circles. We just don’t like to hear the word humble nor have someone identify us as being humble. Being humble is to lower yourself in importance or ranking. You don’t like that right? God has commanded us to “do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 It is not an option. We need humility in order to receive forgiveness. We cannot come to God in an arrogant state and believe that He will be pleased with us. It requires that we come humbly before God, acknowledge our need of Him and repent from our ways.
The opposite of humility is pride. Many individuals are walking around with huge heads ready to tumble down due to their arrogance, which has a negative impact on their relationships. Pride corrupts the heart and mind – it creates a barrier between you and God, which impacts the way you interact with others. Humility allows a closer relationship with God, deeper intimacy with Him results in richer and satisfying relationships with others. I don’t know about you, but humility sounds a lot better than pride.
- Heart Questions: “Am I a teachable person?” “Do I tend to compete against my spouse or loved ones?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Humility today:
- Acknowledge your mistakes
- Welcome feedback/advice from others
- Accept apologies and ask for forgiveness
Must Have Piece #4 – Quiet Strength
This is one of my favorite pieces. Now, it’s not an easy one because we live in a society that emphasizes the need to be outspoken regardless of the impact it has on the other person. When people defend themselves it is seen as a positive quality. God’s word doesn’t say not to be outspoken, rather that when we do speak, we do it in a manner worthy of being called followers of Christ. We don’t need to put people down, raise our voice and undermine others’ abilities in order to be heard.
Let’s not confuse quietness with weakness. On the contrary, someone clothed with Quiet Strength (or gentleness) is a strong and wise person. It requires the person to be sensitive to the needs of others, to be empathic to those hurting and to be honest with others. This in itself requires much discernment and proper timing. It’s the ability to speak to someone who is in the wrong path with a firm, but loving voice.
- Heart Questions: “How is my language lately?” “Am I building others up with my words or am I tearing them down?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Quiet Strength today:
- Be aware of other’s needs
- Speak the truth in love
- Resist the urge to talk about others unkindly
Must Have Piece #5 – Discipline
When it comes to discipline, many of us cringe at the thought of having to be disciplined because it requires patience with ourselves and with others. This can be very draining for some of us. We want others to change, but when it comes to changing ourselves, we make up so many excuses to make up for the guilt we carry. Patience shortages result in broken relationships. We need to get back to basics – let’s put our priorities in order.
I want to emphasize that there is no such thing as willpower or self-discipline apart from God. Our energy and motivation comes from God. He equips us to do all things. Doing it on our own merit will only result in temporary relief, but allowing God to move through us will produce eternal transformation.
- Heart Questions: “How do I tend to respond when I’m provoked?” “What are some ways I can show patience to my spouse or loved ones?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Discipline today:
- Listen without judging or making corrections
- Stay away from temptations
- Have a plan, and follow through
Must Have Piece #6 – Love
Now, we get to the most important piece in your new wardrobe – LOVE. Colossians 3:14 says, “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Love is the only item in your wardrobe that makes all your pieces coordinate in perfect harmony. Without love, your wardrobe will not make sense.
Now, let’s back up to verse 13. Before we can practice loving, it is required of us to “forgive whatever grievances” we may have with others. Forgiveness is the ultimate demonstration of love. I know, here we go again with the forgiveness topic. Part of “putting on love” is learning to embrace God’s forgiveness in our lives and extend that same grace and mercy to others. I truly encourage you to read post – A Beautiful Word – for more on forgiveness.
- Heart Questions: “What are some of the resentments I need to leg go of?” “In what ways can I create an atmosphere of love in my home?”
3 ways to clothe yourself with Love today:
- Give of yourself, especially your time
- Be fair and honest
- Learn to give and receive compliments
Congratulations! You are on your way to having a clean, organized and God focused inner wardrobe. Our outward appearance is important, but it should be driven by our inward intention to please God. His desire is for you to live your best, but this will take time and effort on your end. Remember to focus on one item at a time, work on it, enjoy it and be amazed at what God will do. Above all, remember that when you put on these pieces you are clothing yourself with Christ!
- Galatians 3:27 – “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
Rest in His Word: Proverbs 16:7
“When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.”
- Go back to the Heart Questions and take time to meditate on these before the Lord.
- Write down the six “Must Have” pieces on a notepad. Choose one to begin working on this week. Take baby steps…
- Remember, try on the piece, feel the piece move with you and wear it often.
* I want to thank Terra Newsome for her input on “The Ultimate Clothing Designer” phrase – visit her blog at: http://virtuouswoman73.wordpress.com/