“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14
Love takes action. God chose us because He loves us. He chose us to be holy, set apart for Him. But how do we live holy lives?
Warm water kissing my face, body, and hair. Cleansing for a new day and new beginnings. Makeup done. Hair dry. My closet offers many choices. I choose a special dress for this occasion. I slip the dress on, look in the mirror and straighten the crinkles. My feet slip into my favorite sandals. I spray a little perfume, and I’m ready for date day.
It took intentionality and time.
Holy people loved by God must be intentional. We’re not clean or properly attired in an instant.
Love-locked living is intentional and transformational.Tweet
Tenderhearted mercy. God had mercy on us and did not pour out His wrath on us when we disobeyed. He may have disciplined us, but Jesus took the full wrath of God upon Himself at the cross. He loves us and had mercy on us. Nothing that anyone can do to us can compare with what Jesus endured at the cross. Gentle mercy cleanses.
Kindness follows mercy. God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). He wishes good on all people. How can we not respond in kindness?
Humility. When we recognize how great God is, we realize how small we are. When Miriam and Aaron challenged Moses’ leadership, he did not speak up for himself, for “Moses was very humble–more humble than any other person on earth.” (Numbers 12:3) God took care of the matter. How is our humility?
Gentleness. “A soft answer turns away wrath,” Proverbs 115:1a. As we understand the strong gentleness of Jesus bidding Peter to step out of the boat during the storm or holding little children when His disciples wanted to turn them away, we see compassion and gentleness.
Patience. Even though God has the right to pour out His anger upon us, He is patient, waiting for us to turn to Him, Romans 9:22. In the same manner, we must be patient with our brothers and sisters and pray for them.
Forgiveness. “And I [God] will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (Hebrews 8:12). God pardons our sins because Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, and He does not remind us or choose to recall our sins. They have been flung as far away as the east is from the west. We can also pardon others for our disappointments and hurts and not remind them of the times that they have hurt us.
Love. Above all, we must clothe ourselves with love, agape, divine love. If we clothe ourselves with a self-giving love focused on God and others, we will be forgiving, patient, gentle, humble, kind, and merciful.
Mercy … Kindness … Humility … Gentleness … Patience … Forgiveness … Love … Unity … Harmony
Each characteristic of love-locked living builds upon the other. If we show mercy, it is easier to be kind to others. That kindness leads us to consider the other person more important than ourselves. Consequently, we are gentle with others, realizing that they are like us, sojourners in a world that is not our home, stumbling and choosing wrong paths at times. Gentleness leads to patience, for we are all in different stages of transformation. Patience leads to forgiveness, for the sins are against God as well as us, Luke 15:8, andGod forgives; who are we not to forgive? Forgiveness leads to love, a love springing from the soul prompting action on behalf of others. Together, all these characteristics bind Christians together in unity. Harmony follows true unity through love, forgiveness, patience, gentleness, kindness, and mercy.
Bound … Unity … Harmony … Love-Locked Living
Holy Spirit, cause these Scriptures to sink deep within our souls. Transform our thoughts, our ways, and our souls. Teach us how to clothe ourselves with these glorious garments. In Jesus’ name, amen.