Originally published Friday, 20 January 2017.
In order to put on my ski clothes, I had to tug on long johns. Then, I'd layer super-tight, hard-to-get-on socks. One after another, I'd put everything on until my legs felt like they were the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Only then, would I pull on my snow pants, the final covering that prevented all cold water from entering the warmth that was under the coverings.
There was a process to the putting-on. I couldn't just start and end with the outer shell of snow pants. If I did, I'd go through the night freezing.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12
Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.
These are great things. We run after them. Daily we attempt to put them on, don't we?
I know I do...
I wake in the morning and tell myself, today, I am going to be compassionate and kind. I am going to speak gently and tenderly to my children. Two minutes later, I blast them. Their faces look plastered with shock at my poorly chosen words. Sorry?
I also whisper to the Lord, "I am humble. I want to walk in low places with you." Ten minutes later, I think, "I could have done that ten times better." Whoops!
I try to move towards gentleness and patience, saying, "Watch out world!" Halfway through the day, I am tapping my toe and giving the evil eye to the car that's moving at a snails pace." Go figure.
What God calls me to put on - falls off halfway through the day.
Ever noticed this happens to you? Every wondered why?
I've noticed, I put on the shell of good acts, but what lays under is empty. Underneath, I have not layered myself up, with God, so I can endure the cold times of my day. This discourages us. It causes me to think, "I can never do this Christian faith thing," "I will always fail" or "There's no use for me."
Do you feel like there is now hope for you too?
Like try you may, but you will always fail?
What if we have it all wrong? I can't help but think, God didn't just tell us to "do", there is a whole other component - a component I often forget about. Take a second look at the first part of that verse above: "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved..." (Col. 3:12)
First things first, friends.
Embracing the goodness of God, lets you live the goodness of God.
To feel embraced, you must layer up:
Layer 1: You are chosen. God picked you. He wanted you. He will use you. He has plans for you.
Layer 2: You are holy. His hanging on the cross, earned your holy status. Nothing can remove that from you.
Layer 3: You are dearly loved. You are loved from above and even when you act dumb, still, you are loved.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance... (1 Pet. 1:14)
As ones internally covered with God's garment of grace, mercy and love, like children who need what God has, let us draw near to God's warmth, so we may go to the cold places of the world.
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