“Mom, you don’t need to buy new clothes,” my daughter said as she helped me plan for an upcoming conference. “Shop your own closet.”
Numerous website’s offer the same advice: Survey the contents of your own closet to create new outfits. Why buy more if creative planning can multiply the potential number of outfits? Makes sense.
The strategy of shopping our own closets saves time and money. It also provides opportunities to try new combinations and accessories with the clothing we already have.
God’s Word teaches us how to dress our hearts with the Christlike behaviors and attitudes He has already given us, such as compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.Colossians 3:12 ESV
After he encouraged believers, then and now, to “forgive each other” (v. 13), Paul continued, “And above all, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (v.14).
Among other virtues, he elevates love— “above all these”—and writes that love “binds everything together.”
We sometimes select a particular sweater or piece of jewelry to create harmony and tie the pieces of an outfit together. The garment of God’s love prepares us to walk in victory with Jesus and reflect His heart to the world around us, binding us together in love.
The message resonates throughout Scripture: God loves, and His children love.
How can we put on Christ’s love each day and share it with others?
1. Study Scripture.
In His wisdom, God instructs us how to adopt Christlike behavior. He leads us through His Word to live in a way that reflects His glory and allows us to live in harmony with others as we minister to them.
Paul, with Holy Spirit inspiration, encouraged believers to wear the behaviors and characteristics that are stored in their own hearts. This strategy leads us to imitate Jesus, the perfect model for love.
Read about the earthly life of Jesus, our perfect example. He took time to notice people—the woman at the well, the tax collector in the tree, and the children in the crowd. He fellowshiped with people others ignored and taught God’s truths to crowds and small groups. He met needs and prayed for those around Him.
2. Pray for guidance.
Ask God to show you ways to extend His love to others, then watch for opportunities. God never leads us without equipping us.
The clothes of virtue Colossians three instructs us to put on are already hanging in our heart’s closet. There’s no need to run to a mall or beg God to give us these qualities. He already has. If we are His, the traits Paul listed fit us well and portray the light of Christ to others.
When Jesus came to dwell in our hearts, God adopted us as children and gave us the capacity to love as He loves. We don’t love perfectly, but God gradually transforms us and provides opportunities for us to extend love to others as we listen to Him and obey.
We don’t love perfectly, but God gradually transforms us and provides opportunities for us to extend love to others as we listen to Him and obey. Click To Tweet
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.1 John 3:1
3. Notice the way other Christians display the love of Christ.
Once we repent of our sins and surrender our lives to Jesus, His Holy Spirit resides in us, and He enables us to display Christlike characteristics. God also instructs us to serve others in His name. As children of God, we imitate our Father and embrace His teaching.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5:1-2
Do you remember occasions when others who walk with God extended His love to you? What evidence of sharing His love have you observed this week?
4. Consider ways you might express love through encouraging words, acts of kindness, or meaningful gifts.
Who in your circle of influence needs to experience God’s love this week through one of these means?
We can find ways to show His love to those around us whether we are young or old, working or retired, rich or poor. He gives each believer spiritual gifts for the purpose of meeting the needs of others.
Believers are not to envy or copy the way other Christians show love and serve the Lord. Instead, we keep our eyes on Him as we love others in our own unique God-given style.
We often follow fashion trends and imitate the clothing styles of others. For our spiritual dress, we are to imitate our heavenly Father and clothe our hearts with love.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.1 John 3:11
Consider these questions:
1. How has God equipped you to love and serve others in His kingdom’s work?
2. In what ways have others shown the love of Christ to you?
3. How can you share the love of Jesus this week?
Please add a comment about how you plan to put on love this week. It’s a great fit!
This post concludes our series on renewing our hearts with God this spring.
Bible verses are taken from the ESV.