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 ESV
These verses are foundational in the way we are to relate to our spouses in marriage. Just as we “put on” clothes every day, we are to “put on” these characteristics that Paul enumerates. It’s a simple analogy, but one we can all relate to—when we leave the house to interact with other people, we put on clothes. Now, we all have those days when we choose not to put on clothes—we want to stay on our couch in our pajamas all day. That’s fine, but we’re probably not answering the door or interacting with others. When we choose to leave the house, however, we put on appropriate clothes. In the same way, when we interact with our spouses, these are the characteristics God wants us to put on.
Since we are God’s chosen people, and we are holy and beloved, we represent Him every day to this broken world. People are watching us, and people are judging us. They listen to us interact with our spouses and they hear the stories of our marriages. Far too often, unbelievers look at Christians and consider them to be the most harsh, close-minded, judgmental, and critical people they know. God calls us to be compassionate, kind, patient, humble and loving people to the world. The gap between who we are and who we are called to be is why unbelievers consider us hypocrites. If we are to call ourselves Christians, and we are to represent Him to this world, then we need to start putting some of these traits on more often, most especially in our marriages. We cannot call ourselves Christians, then tear down our spouse by the water cooler in the morning with our coworker. We cannot call ourselves Christians, then choose not to forgive our spouse.
Paul uses this analogy because these characteristics are not innate to us—we have to put them on. We cannot, in our own power, demonstrate the kind of compassion and love that represents Him well. It’s just not possible. So, the way we put on these characteristics is to turn up the volume of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We encourage the Spirit when we get into His Word, when we spend time in prayer, when we’re with Godly people, serving others, or in corporate worship. The more often we engage in these things, the louder His voice is. The less often we engage, the quieter His voice is.
We want to be people who represent Him well to a world who needs to hear more from Him. Choose to do those things that strengthen the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life, and watch how He works through you to demonstrate love, watch how he puts these traits on you.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗