It’s my birthday. I am 43 years old. I wake up in my parent’s home happy. I hear cousins laughing and playing down the hall. I feel loved. As my niece would later tell me, I am “loved immensely.” I like that thought.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Dearly loved. That is it. I am so dearly loved. So, so dearly loved. I am full of joy and peace. In reading this scripture from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, I don’t think that I have ever looked at these adjectives as a response to God’s love.
Compassion….Seeing and acknowledging other’s needs
Kindness….Helping to satisfy those needs
Humility…..Thinking about other people before yourself
Gentleness….Acting with care and seeing the response
Patience….Working and waiting in God’s time
Up to today my thought process has been:
“I am loved.
The Bible told me so.
Now I need to try and act this way.”
That is a response of me still viewing myself as a director of my salvation, working for God, trying to please the boss.
There is no purchase of these “clothes,” no tasks to complete or action to take to become this person. My relationship with Christ is not a project to work, a job to complete.
What Paul writes about is more effortless. It is a response to being dearly loved. It is simply breathing in God’s grace and accepting that love. And these pieces of clothing just get put on. They slide on like a favorite college sweatshirt or a pair of old jeans you know will always fit. It should be that simple, that fluid, that enveloping. And just like clothing, all of these should be worn together. You’d never walk out into the world without your pants on.
I look at the scripture again and begin to wonder if there is a reason for the order that Paul writes these characteristics. But I stop myself, because I can feel myself looking for a problem to solve. Instead I will sit back and soak up this feeling of love, this overwhelming, undeserved, unearned, immense love of God.