I have read a lot of commentaries and different Biblical versions about putting on the whole armor of God. But what goes under that armor is also important. Did you know that the Bible tells us how we are to clothe ourselves?
I have read the book of Colossians numerous times, meditating on its verses. But this verse somehow escaped my attention until our Bible study group met on Monday night. I pondered it then and today this same verse was in my daily devotional. God does want us to put on the whole armor of God, but underneath that armor, He wants us clothed with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. If we are clothed in something, that is what people see when they see us, those qualities that make Jesus’s presence evident to others.
The chapter continues with this verse about forgiveness. How can we be clothed with Godly characteristics if we don’t forgive? The answer is that we can’t. It’s like going out in public with a shirt that is ripped down the middle and expecting no one to notice. Lack of forgiveness causes a root of bitterness inside the person who chooses to hold on to it. The person you are not forgiving is either not aware of it or chooses to ignore it. Either way, it doesn’t hurt them as much as the lack of forgiveness hurts you. The very important word in the verse is “as”. A tiny little word that means so much…the same way the Lord forgave you is how you should forgive others. He forgave each of us of everything, so we should do likewise to others. Grudges are not an item of clothing that we should be wearing around our shoulders.
Finally, there is love, the binding agent. I vaguely remember my chemistry class in which we were making a glue-type substance and we were told that one of the elements we were using was the binding agent, so we had to be careful to add it at the proper time. Love has to always be added to all of the other clothing that we are wearing because it is the seam that holds the clothing together on our bodies. Without love, we can’t exhibit the other qualities in any way that creates unity. In this divided world, love is an absolutely necessary quality for Christians to put on daily. You don’t like someone’s politics? Love them anyway. You don’t like someone’s selfish actions? Love them anyway. Someone is rude to you, in traffic or in a store or at work? Love them anyway. Love is the one thing that will draw people to you and to your witness about Christ. Once they see love, they can look at the other “clothing” that you are wearing and examine the gifts of His character that God has put on you. But first they must see love.