Our reading for Friday, May 17, 2019 is Col 3:12-14
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – NIV
We get up every morning and prepare ourselves to start another day, unless you work nights. We take for granted the activity of getting dressed as part of our routine; we just do it. Some thought will be required like what outfits or combinations we will wear or what would be appropriate for the activities we shall be engaged in. Of course consideration of the weather will be a factor. We give passing thought to these considerations, but I do not know how much thought we give to the attitude and challenges we may face spiritually.
The apostle Paul uses the word “clothe” to describe an intentional process for the follower of Christ to choose the right attitude and values to adopt as we face each day. This seems reasonable since it should be our goal to represent Christ well before others in every circumstance. There are two other factors to take in consideration for this besides the service we expect we should render. We should also desire to become like Christ who is the image for us of what it means to be a perfect human being.
The second motivation for intentionally preparing how we shall face the day, though we might not acknowledge it as easily as we should, is that Christ’s way is the best way for securing our personal fulfillment. What would we want most in life? Is it not to experience more love? While some might pursue other ends such as getting through the work for the day to get to the place where their time is theirs, for the disciple there is no separation between living for Christ and for us. They are one in the same. If we do not understand our lives in this way then we better reexamine the soundness of our faith.
It is because I am a follower of Christ that I want to check my attitude and expected responses to my day. Each day I want to be faithful to Christ no matter what my activity should be. The brief list of attitudes and values the apostle proposes are certainly not all inclusive; there are other attributes we might add to the list but these are a good place to start. The question is are these to come naturally to us or are we to actively place them into practice. It is the latter that challenges our resolve to live for Christ and when we close the day identifying where we have failed to incorporate them into our experiences we will assess how productive we have been.
I do not think that we structure our day to place our best foot forward. I sometimes think we do what we think is necessary, eat breakfast, brush our teeth, shower and shave, pick out and dress what we shall wear without giving much thought to the particular values we will need to embrace to face the particular challenges we anticipate in the interactions with other people we know we shall have.
We may look at our calendar to assess our schedule in our preparations but I am not so sure we consider the people we shall interact with and just what it may demand from us in order to be Christ to them that day. This type of preparation requires that we take out our calendars and intentionally pray for those persons and situations we anticipate we shall face. We prepare for those interactions just as much as we might prepare how we dress due to the weather.
If this is what is needed then we will need to provide ourselves the time to get spiritually dressed for the day. It may mean getting up a little earlier which also might require that we go to bed earlier the evening before. It means we develop and plan for the practice of morning prayer and filling our minds with sentiments from the Word of God so we might start off the day with awareness and sensitivity for what God might want to accomplish in us.
To clothe ourselves with the attitude of Christ for each day is an intentional process we must structure into our routine. The benefits is a peaceful heart and mind as we close our day better assured we have lived for Christ well.