Did you know you can get dressed up as a Christian? You can put on your neatly pressed, fully cleaned heart like a garment especially tailored for you!
“Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, long-suffering;”
The heart you put on is not like your own human heart. Rather your tailored heart is like Christ’s — “a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and long-suffering.” Christ’s heart makes you “God’s elect, holy and beloved.”
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgives you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love.” (Ephesians 4: 32 – 5: 2)
Imitate God by being kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving. In other words, writes Paul, “walk in love” “as dearly loved children.”
“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Be tenderhearted and forgiving of one another, “for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4: 25, ESV) Our kindness, compassion, and ability to forgive emerges from God’s kindness, compassion and forgiveness toward us in Christ. As God forgives us, so we should forgive one another.
Jesus teaches,”Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6: 38)
Forgive another, and he is more likely to forgive you. Be kind to another, and he is more likely to be kind to you. Be compassionate and tenderhearted toward another, and he is more likely to be compassionate and tenderhearted toward you.
“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.” (Colossians 3: 12 – 13)
“And above all these put on love.” (Colossians 3: 14) Love “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3: 14)
We are “God’s chosen people,” writes Paul. As such, we are heading to a banquet. Paul says, “Get dressed already! For what are you waiting?”
He says to us that we are changed on the inside, and past time to change on the outside!
“Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another.” (Colossians 3: 12 – 13)
Paul expects us to accept one another — not try to change one another. He tells us that “above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3: 14) In acceptance, we find forgiveness. “If anyone has a complaint against another,” they are to forgive the other, “just as Lord forgives.” (Colossians 3: 13)
“Whatever [we] do, in word or in deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus;” and as such fulfill the law of love. (Colossians 3: 17) Once we are dressed in compassion, kindness, patience, gentleness, humility and love, our relationships will be dressed for the wedding feast.
The Spirit you have within is “not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” writes Paul to his spiritual son, Timothy.
Paul tells Timothy not to “be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1: 8) Paul reminds Timothy that God “saves us and calls us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gives us in Christ Jesus before the ages begin.” (2 Timothy 1: 9)
God’s calling is from before time — long in advance of any one thing we do or do not do. God “says to Moses, ‘I have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ ” (Romans 9: 15) God “says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raise you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My Name is proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.” (Romans 9: 17 – 18)
God chooses Jacob to love, and Esau to hate. (Romans 9: 13) And this, “though they are not yet born and have done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election may continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” (Romans 9: 11)
Our eternal life is due to “Him who calls.” He calls us from darkness, leads us into His Light, gives us His Holy Spirit and walks us to His mountain. Our salvation has nothing to do with our works, which are — at the very best — side-effects of the Holy Spirit within us.
We speak of God being loving, but how many of us ever say, “God is kind?” The kind person is considerate first. Do you think of God as considerate? As Jesus is the “exact imprint of [God’s] nature,” we might be able to imagine God the Father as considerate. Jesus is certainly considerate of the crowd when He tells His disciples to “give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14: 16)
“And great crowds come to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He heals them, so that the crowd wonders, when they see the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. Then Jesus calls His disciples to Him and says, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’ ” (Matthew 15: 30 – 32)
Jesus, the Son of God, is kind. He feels compassion.
Jesus says, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him, and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11: 5 – 8)
Jesus tells us to pursue kindness and find life.
Jesus tells of the persistent widow who keeps coming to a judge “who neither fears God nor respects man.” (Luke 18: 2) The widow is seeking justice, and comes to the judge repeatedly. Eventually, to rid himself of her, he grants her justice. “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? I tell you, He will give justice speedily.” (Luke 18: 8)
God, the Father, is kind. He gives us righteousness and life.
Paul identfies us as “God’s chosen ones.” We are “holy and beloved.” As God’s chosen, as His beloved, we are to “put on” “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3: 12) To these qualities, we are to add forgiveness. “As the Lord has forgiven you,” writes Paul, “so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3: 13)
Above compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and forgiveness, Paul calls us to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3: 14)
In combination with love, we are to “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts.”
Peace should come naturally, says Paul, because we “are called in one body.” Since we are united in Christ, we ought to be at peace with one another.
“Therefore, as you receive Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2: 6 – 7)
Remember you are God’s chosen people; “be thankful.”
“When He comes ashore He sees a great crowd, and He has compassion on them and heals their sick.” (Matthew 14: 14)
He has withdrawn “to a place by Himself. But when the crowds hear it, they follow Him on foot from the towns.” (Matthew 14: 13)
Jesus is trying to find a desolate place to pray. When the crowds come from several towns, He abandons His original plan, turns back to heal the sick among them.
His disciples find Him at the end of the day, and ask Him to send the crowds away. The disciples think the people should go buy their own food in the nearby villages. But Jesus tells them to feed the crowd. The disciples are dumbfounded. They’ve only five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus has compassion on the great crowd; this time He feeds them.
So, on this single day, Jesus heals the sick among the crowd and feeds the people. “And they all ate and were satisfied.” (Matthew 14: 20)
Jesus does not heal this one but not that one; He does not feed this one and leave that one hungry. He heals every one of the crowd who is sick, and He feeds to satisfaction all the people gathered who are hungry.
The crowd follows in expectation. They hear of Jesus, and they want to find Him.
Jesus is aware of their needs. He is compassionate. He heals. He satisfies.