During my eighth year, Easter came early with its chilly temps, but I insisted on wearing my new sleeveless dress to Sunday School. My mom purchased a soft white sweater with tiny pearl buttons to make that feasible. Accessories completed the ensemble–white gloves, a flowery headband, white ruffled socks, white patent leather shoes, and a purse shaped like a closed parasol. Dressed in my Easter finery, I posed for pictures and felt ready for the holiday.
Fashions have changed since that childhood Easter experience, but there are still occasions when we expend extra time and effort to look our best. There are places that require a certain dress code, and occasionally, it’s just fun to dress up.
Although paying attention to our outward appearance is necessary, the Bible teaches that God is more concerned with our hearts than our outward appearance.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
–1 Samuel 16:7b ESV
Dressing the Heart
What should the condition of our heart be this Easter? How can we “dress” our heart to honor the Lord? In Colossians 3:12-14, Paul addresses Christians when he writes,
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
Have you ever tried to “put on” some of these qualities by your own determination? I have, and at best, I’d last a day or two attempting to be more patient and more forgiving, for example. When my energy or awareness of my attitude waned, I was back to square one, repenting and trying again. Human strength falters in the character renovation process.
Once a person becomes a Christ follower, God makes that person more like Him. He does the changing as we yield to His work in our lives. Our part is to seek and obey Him.
What is the encouraging message in this post? We don’t need fancy clothes or even perfect behavior to please God. Once we’ve accepted Him as Savior, He transforms us and teaches us so that we can “put off” old behavior and “put on” the qualities listed above. Our hearts will be “dressed” for Easter and every day.
A Message from My Heart
If you have never invited Jesus to be the Lord of your life, turning from your ways and accepting His, I would urge you to do so. After attending church all my life, during my senior year in high school, I realized I knew about God but did not know Him personally.
I asked God to forgive me for my sin, turned from my sinful ways, and accepted what He did on Calvary to pay for my sin. Then, I asked Him to come into my heart to be my Savior and Lord. That’s when I became a Christian, a person with Jesus Christ living inside. (If you want to know more, read: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 4:12, John 3:16, and John 14:6.)
Now, I have not only the promise of eternal life in heaven but also the joy of walking with Him each day, accepting His wisdom, love, peace, and the abundant life He promised. Besides these blessings, I’m grateful that He’s teaching me to “put on” Christ-like characteristics on Easter and every other day.