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No one who knows me would tell you that I am a fashionista—someone who is on top of all the latest fashion trends—but I do try to wear clothes appropriate for the occasion. Just as I would not wear formal attire to paint my house, I would not wear my painting clothes to attend a wedding or a banquet. Your beliefs and attitudes can often be discerned by what you wear. Do you have respect for others? Do you have respect for yourself? Many of my students at the Faculty of Education would question what to wear as they prepared to start a placement in a new school. I always advised them that it would never be a problem if they were more professional or more conservative than the other people working there.

In Colossians 3, Paul advises us what to wear and what not to wear, metaphorically speaking. In Colossians 3:1, he tells us to keep seeking things above—keep working toward becoming more and more like the person that Christ wants us to be. This is not an instantaneous transformation, but a work that will be in progress as long as we are on this earth. Christ died to redeem us all from our evil human nature, but it is up to us to continually choose to live in a way that honours Him. So Paul tells us to put off such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language and lies. (Colossians 3:8,9)

Since who we display on the outside is usually a representation of who we are on the inside, Paul exhorts us to change our clothes. He wants us to clothe ourselves with a heart of mercy. (Colossians 3:12) Mercy means showing compassion when we have the power to punish. If someone has done you wrong, you have the opportunity to forgive them instead, which is another piece of the clothing that Paul suggests. (Colossians 3:13) He also recommends kindness, humility, gentleness and patience—putting others ahead of ourselves and being considerate while also treating them with respect and tolerance. We are all on this journey towards transformation together, and none of us has reached our destination yet. We need to be understanding of each other’s imperfections.

Above all, Paul asks us to put on love. (Colossians 3:14) Although we can, by way of duty, accomplish all of the preceding virtues without having love, I Corinthians 13 tells us that without love, all else is meaningless. It is our love for God, and His love flowing through us, that will help us to love those around us. It is our love for God that will make us want to choose a wardrobe that will best represent Him. If you want to wear the outfit that is most appropriate for your role as a child of God, wear love.

No one who knows me would tell you that I am a fashionista—someone who is on top of all the latest fashion trends—but I do try to wear clothes appropriate for the occasion. Just as I would not wear formal attire to paint my house, I would not wear my painting clothes to attend a wedding or a banquet. Your beliefs and attitudes can often be discerned by what you wear. Do you have respect for others? Do you have respect for yourself? Many of my students at the Faculty of Education would question what to wear as they prepared to start a placement in a new school. I always advised them that it would never be a problem if they were more professional or more conservative than the other people working there.

In Colossians 3, Paul advises us what to wear and what not to wear, metaphorically speaking. In Colossians 3:1, he tells us to keep seeking things above—keep working toward becoming more and more like the person that Christ wants us to be. This is not an instantaneous transformation, but a work that will be in progress as long as we are on this earth. Christ died to redeem us all from our evil human nature, but it is up to us to continually choose to live in a way that honours Him. So Paul tells us to put off such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language and lies. (Colossians 3:8,9)

Since who we display on the outside is usually a representation of who we are on the inside, Paul exhorts us to change our clothes. He wants us to clothe ourselves with a heart of mercy. (Colossians 3:12) Mercy means showing compassion when we have the power to punish. If someone has done you wrong, you have the opportunity to forgive them instead, which is another piece of the clothing that Paul suggests. (Colossians 3:13) He also recommends kindness, humility, gentleness and patience—putting others ahead of ourselves and being considerate while also treating them with respect and tolerance. We are all on this journey towards transformation together, and none of us has reached our destination yet. We need to be understanding of each other’s imperfections.

Above all, Paul asks us to put on love. (Colossians 3:14) Although we can, by way of duty, accomplish all of the preceding virtues without having love, I Corinthians 13 tells us that without love, all else is meaningless. It is our love for God, and His love flowing through us, that will help us to love those around us. It is our love for God that will make us want to choose a wardrobe that will best represent Him. If you want to wear the outfit that is most appropriate for your role as a child of God, wear love.

Something I said in my last blog post (John 1:14, January 7) inspired me to look up Colossians 3:23-24.  My question from the passage in John was how would it change your life if Jesus moved in next door?  Colossians 3:23 tells us that it doesn’t matter what we are doing, or what human person asked us to do it, we are really working for God.

From the previous verse we see that this passage refers to slaves working for their masters, but in today’s context the principle would apply just as well to employees, children and students.  How do you react when your boss asks you to do something that isn’t technically in your job description, or you feel is beneath you?  What is a child’s usual response when asked to clean his room?  What about students who let other members of the group carry the load on a group project?  Would it make a difference if Jesus had asked you to do it?  It’s true; your boss’ motives may not be as pure, selfless and forward-thinking as Jesus’ are, but her authority still needs to be respected.

Verse 23 also tells us to work with enthusiasm.  The King James version uses the term heartily; the original Greek means from the soul.  Now think about this for a minute.  When you are doing the dishes or the laundry or taking out the trash, are you doing it with enthusiasm?  These are not the most glamourous tasks, but they deserve the best of your ability.  They may seem like thankless jobs, because there’s a good chance that no one ever says thank you for doing them, but the Lord will reward you.  When you are working for Him, what others think won’t matter to you.

You may not get a raise or promotion by working those overtime hours when your boss asks you to at the last minute.  You may not get an A on that group assignment, or a bonus in your allowance for cleaning up your room.  Earthly rewards are not always fair or reliable.  Sometimes you get praise for what others have done, and sometimes you don’t get the praise you deserve.  Sometimes it seems like your efforts are quickly forgotten.  God doesn’t forget.  Your reward from God will not be based on the amount of talent you have, or how popular you are, or how much money you earned.  The reward He gives you will be for your attitude and your faithfulness.  Did you give God your very best effort?  Jesus will be doing your final performance review; are you ready?