Have you ever watched the TV show, What Not To Wear? Two fashion stylists help revamp the look of individuals, nominated by their friends, who need some guidance and direction due to their poor choices in wardrobe and appearance. In the opening scene, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly watch the guest explain why various items of clothing are most precious to them. After some serious convincing, the individual consents to discarding these items and the make over begins.
In Colossians 3:5, Paul tells his reader to “Put to death therefore what is earthly to you.” Discard these deeds of the old nature. But we realize in order to change our behavior, there are two big steps. First, we must identify and acknowledge our bad habits, the sinful behaviors. We are called to “Put Off” the old nature.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self. ~Colossians 3:9-10 (Emphasis mine)
According to Paul’s instruction, the second step requires the mindful action of “Put On.” “One should not merely avoid sin (3:5-11); one must also take the initiative to put on virtue, actively replacing bad behavior with behaviors that befit people who are chosen and loved by God.” (The Moody Bible Commentary, p. 1873).
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ~Colossians 3:12-14 (Emphasis mine)
This may seem like a daunting list to apply and practice in our daily lives. The longer we walk with the Lord and study His Word, the more we will love the things He loves. The Holy Spirit will stir within our hearts and strengthen our desire to practice these attributes of virtue. (See Galatians 5:22-23).
- Compassionate hearts
- Bear with one another
- Forgive one another
- Love (binds together in perfect harmony)
As we grow in our personal walks with Jesus, it is my prayer that each of us would take a truthful inventory of our heart’s closet. What are the sins and behaviors in my life that need to be “Put Off” and discarded? But don’t stop there. Take the next steps of application and “Put On” new virtues and attitudes for your life. On a 3×5 card, write out the eight attributes found in Col. 3:12-14 and post this on your bathroom mirror or by your kitchen sink. Ask God to begin growing each of these in your daily life.
And then we see one very big quality pop in the next few verses! As we “Put Off” and “Put On,” our hearts begin to change and an important element begins to develop in our lives.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:15-17 (Emphasis mine)
Note these three phrases. I believe they are significant and apply to daily life for each of us.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … With thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Whatever you do in word or deed … Give thanks to God the Father through Jesus.
Do you want the peace of Christ in your heart? Be thankful. Do you want to experience the richness of God’s Word, through teaching, worship, and music, fill your heart with thankfulness to God. And, in the midst of your every day conversations and tasks, give thanks to God the Father.
Finally, practice thankfulness. As God’s people, we should regularly speak words of thanks. Our hearts should be filled with thankfulness to overflowing. Why do we struggle with this key element of the Christian life? It’s easier to look around us and compare and complain rather than looking upward and thanking Him.
Take some time to read Colossians 3:9-17 once again. Pause for a time of prayer before the Lord.
- Put Off – Confess those actions that should be removed from your life.
- Put On – Prepare a note card with the 8 attributes of virtue and place it in a spot where you will see it often.
- Practice Thankfulness – Take a few moments each day to write down 2 or 3 statements of gratitude.
Remember: Practice makes progress!