And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
I look at these qualities as the wardrobe of the Christian life. But first things first. Note that Colossians 3:12 starts by saying, “as those who have been chosen of God.” He picked us to be in His family and Kingdom. I like the way Jesus worded it in John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give you.” He chose us to be fruit bearers. The fruit involves both who we become “in Christ” and what we do for Him. The fruit includes the new wardrobe we put on.
Second, He calls us “holy.” This Greek word means “to be holy, set apart, sanctified or consecrated.” Its fundamental idea is “separation, consecration, devotion to the service of Deity, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from worldly defilement.” The wardrobe God dresses us in relates to the attributes of His character. We are called to “put on Christ.”
Third, He calls us “beloved.” This is a special word. It means “those who are loved with Agape love.” I call this “the God kind of love.” Don’t run from His love. Embrace it and let it bring healing and wholeness into your life.
Putting on the wardrobe that follows in this context is a healing process. It involves the work of the Holy Spirit thoroughly changing us into new people made after the likeness of Christ. I see salvation as an event, but sanctification as a process. He changes us over time.
If you are a Christian, Jesus welcomes you into His personal wardrobe. He wants to dress us in His righteousness. He wants you and me to “put off” our fleshy attire and “put on” all the qualities mentioned in Colossians 3:12-17.
Let me stress that this wardrobe is not for special occasions. These qualities are the daily uniform for the family of God. By all means, put them on!