Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Choosing the right outfit.

Every single day we are going to come up against something that is going to bother us. A rude customer, callow teens who think they own the world, being judged by another, grumpy old people etc. These things in the grand scheme of things are relatively minor. Some people come up against so much more - mental/physical/sexual/spiritual abuse and rejection by someone that they love. 

Whether you are having a minor or major struggle in life, we must dress appropriately for the occasion!

{Colossians 3:12-15} Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.

 photo Col0312-142_zps2524ef69.jpg 

First of all I would like to point out that this outfit has to be a deliberate choice and action. "YOU must clothe YOURSELVES.....". It is our responsibility to get dressed in this outfit that God has laid out for us. It's not God's responsibility to dress you. Be intentional about the outfit. And like all good outfits, don't hide it under a big bulky jacket. Show it off baby! The outfit needs to be seen. It needs to be obvious you are wearing it. You can't say "I'm wearing my kindness shoes today..." but yet it's not obvious that you are being kind to that boss who is yelling at you and trying to humiliate you. 

Second of all I would like to point out that the outfit is for when you are dealing with people. It's a relational outfit. Each item deals with how we treat others and our own attitude towards others. Mercy  kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love are all for the people in your life that irritate you and hurt you. It goes on to say "Make allowances for each other's faults". We all have faults, every single one of us. We have to make allowances for each other. We have to forgive one another when we mess up and hurt each other. Again I reiterate - making allowances is not allowing someone to treat you like a doormat. Love and boundaries go hand in hand. Making allowances and forgiveness does not mean you have to be abused or hurt repeatedly by someone. Make allowances AND "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" {Proverbs 4:23}
Making allowances would look something like this: Your boss is uncharacteristically yelling at you and your instinct is to yell back and tell him what you think of him. Making an allowance would be "He must be having a bad day. Maybe he is under a lot of stress and is taking it out on me. He is upsetting me with his yelling, but I choose to respond with grace and kindness." 

Thirdly I would like to point out that this suggestion of appropriate attire is for our own good. If we don't wear the outfit, it effects us in more ways than one. We can become hard, bitter and rash with others. We can become intolerant of one another and unforgiving. Our hearts are influenced by our clothes, or lack of them! Future behaviors and attitudes are determined by our choices. If we deliberately put on the outfit, it becomes our focus. We are annoyed by someone, so we choose to show them kindness and patience. If it's not our focus we choose other ways of responding which can become habit and destroy us and our relationships.

What areas in your relationships do you need to be intentional about wearing this outfit?

Dear Lord, Thanks for the instructions! Thank you for not letting us wander about aimlessly, experimenting on one another as we try and get things right. Thank you for showing us what we should do that is not only for our own good, but it will develop and nurture the relationships we have with others. I want to be intentional in dressing, every day. Help me change the bad attitudes into these awesome traits. Help me to keep my heart soft and sweet. Amen

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