Dress for The Occasion

Author: Jacob Tynes
Main Scripture: Colossians 3:12-15
Song: Refiner
December 9, 2016 I packed a moving truck, attached my car to the back, and drove through the mountains of West Virginia. I was moving to Columbus, Ohio. My first step into the next Chapter of my life was one to remember.

With the anticipation of a fresh start, I had given little forethought to my attire for the day and the weather that awaited me. Nice house slippers from Target, mesh gym shorts, and a white t-shirt is what I threw on that morning.

Finally pulling into the Canal Winchester Walmart parking lot at 9p that evening, I had arrived. Upon opening the truck door, the heat that had comforted me during the eight hour drive quickly escaped, and I was met with a chilling 25 degrees.

"Ahhhh, the feeling of frozen optimism."

Jumping down from the truck, ready to begin my new adventure, I was instantly introduced to something called black ice. You can't see it. The ice doesn't wave and say, "Be careful." It waits... It waits for its victim. In that moment, I was ejected from the Penske truck as quickly as the comforting heat was just moments before. And there I was - taking a little rest on the cold, frozen over parking lot of Walmart.

Welcome to Ohio, Jacob.

Later on that week, I attended an event called, "Christmas on the Street." This event was targeted to meet the needs of the homeless community in Columbus, Ohio. Right then and there, I came to the conclusion that my version of winter attire was not what would be required to maintain a normal and comfortable body temperature in Ohio.

I didn't dress for the occasion.

How many of us have experienced a situation where you felt as though you didn't dress for the occasion? I don't write about this moment in my life to only make laugh, I write it because what we clothe ourselves with, what we put on, determines much.

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:12-15)

This scripture challenges us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. The word clothe means to endow with a particular quality. We are instructed to adopt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience as a part of our daily lives.

What I find interesting is the order in which this scripture was written. If I refuse to clothe myself as instructed, I have not dressed appropriately for what comes next; to "bear with each other and forgive one another...to forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Do you find yourself dressing for the occasion?

The scripture continues and talks about that love is above all these other virtues. Why? Because love is the fabric that creates compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Love is the foundation in which we stand upon to bear with each other and to forgive.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? What are you clothed in? Self-evaluation is an invitation to oneself and an opportunity for personal growth. This week, from the posture of love, clothe yourself every morning. In situations throughout day, visualize yourself putting on compassion. In some moments, I have to intentionally tell myself how to respond. If someone comes up to me and vomits emotions towards me, I tell myself, "Be kind, Jacob." If I don't tell myself that, I will naturally desire to make them regret their actions.

Clothing ourselves with these virtues grants us an opportunity to live God-honoring. It allows the peace of Christ to rule in our lives. It cultivates a character that aligns with our Creator. It prepares a response and prevents an emotional, uncontrolled, and unreceivable action. To clothe yourself with these virtues is to step toward the likeness of Christ.

Let the presence of the Lord refine you. Let Jesus purify your heart. Let Him reset your foundation so that love exists at your core. Let go of what needs letting go of. Surrender those thoughts that need surrendered. Lift your eyes to the heavens so that you may clothe yourself, so that you may dress for the occasion.

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