Put on the Clothing of Love today!
With Halloween upon us, many are thinking about costumes. Some are fun – kids dressed up for Trick-or-Treating. Some are scary for haunted houses or just scaring family or neighbors. Others dress in fun couple’s costumes for parties. Parents work to find or make the costumes that their children most desire. From TV shows to small town Halloween parades, it seems like everyone is worried about how they are dressed this time of the year.
As Christians, we are told how to dress. And despite some old customs, I do not mean that women need to wear dresses and head covering. (Though I have to admit admiring the many Mennonite women in our area who dress that way daily and work much harder and longer hours than I do.) No, I mean that Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that we are to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Paul teaches us that most important article of clothing we wear as Christians is love.
How different would the world look if every follower of Christ put on this clothing every day? How different would your life be if you spent less time worrying about your physical clothing and more time figuring out how to wear love so that everyone can see it?
Most of us are intentional about what we wear every day. We need to consider the weather. Figure out what we own that is clean. Consider if we are working or having a fun day with family or friends. At times we dress to impress others. Sometimes we dress in old clothes to do a dirty job or a work project. We dress differently depending on what day it is, but the real and most important clothing that we wear should be the same every day.
Dressing in compassion means that we should be looking to our neighbor’s first, not ourselves. Dressing in kindness means we are ready to forgive and be gentle with our family, our co-workers, our friends and even our enemies. Dressing in humility means giving God the credit for what we accomplish and never placing ourselves over others. Dressing in meekness means that we know our Creator and Redeemer has all the power and we are simply servants of God and those for whom Christ died (which is the whole creation and all humans!) Wearing patience means that we take time to listen to others, waiting in line without complaint and waiting for God’s healing and hope to vanquish our darkness. Being clothed in love means that all we do should reflect the grace and forgiveness that Christ gives to us.
Of course when we do wear the proper clothing daily, it gets dirty. The world is filled with pride, boastfulness, anger, impatience and hate. In daily life, we bump up against all these things. This means that by the end of the day, sometimes we do not look like the people of God at all. So we need to return to Christ and get washed off again. We need to remember our baptisms and start over. We experience the grace and forgiveness of Christ when we come home a mess.
Then the next day, we wake up and get dressed again. Hopefully we always dress in love!
Whatever you wear for Halloween this year, remember also to dress for Reformation Day and follow the dress code of the Bible -- put on LOVE today, tomorrow, and every day.