"Therefore (because of Christ we are), as the elect of God (chosen, called), holy (perfectly, honorably, spiritually pure) and dearly (precious, cherished, a high price, prized, scarce, worthy, honorable) loved (tender, passionate affection, warm personal attachment, taking great pleasure in ), clothe yourself (this is not passive - it suggests that I am actively engaged and choosing to dress myself in these things!) with a heart (the center of the personality, or emotion) of mercy (compassion, or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, and enemy, or other person in one's power, to pardon someone, an act of kindness, - I like this one - evidence of divine favor) kindness, humility (modest opinion of one's rank, lowly, meekness, submissiveness), gentleness (amiable, mild, gradual, to millify, sooth, calm, pacify) and patience (bearing annoyance, misfortune or pain without complaint or irritation; quiet, steady perserverance), bearing with one another (supporting someone as if they depended on you - crutches come to mind) and forgiving one another (granting a pardon, cancel an indebtedness), if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else (whether we agree with that complaint or not). Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others."
Wow! Here it is again with no comments:
"Therefore as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others."
The first thing that struck me is I AM HOLY AND DEARLY LOVED! To use some of the synonymns, I am perfectly prized and someone takes great pleasure in me. What an awesome truth! Even when i feel most unloveable, God loves me completely.
The second thing that struck me was the idea that we daily choose to clothe ourselves in these things. It is not something the Holy Spirit just grants us. It is not like I can pray, Lord, please make me patient, and boom, I am patient. No, I think the Lord provides opportunities to learn patience or exhibit patience. He may also through the Holy Spirit give us a heightened ability during certain situations to display character traits we may not normally be able to acurately express, but the more common form of transformation involves our action too. We need to step forward, courageously and dress ourselves in these things in the morning, right along with our underwear.
The third thing that struck me is the tone of our interaction that is described by this scripture. It is not a "go in with gusto" tone. It is a focus on others needs and emotions. It is compassion flowing out of true love, not duty. It is not someone being trampled on or passively interacting with the world, but someone courageously supporting someone. The supporters' heart wants to be unnoticed, unseen, to everyone other than who they are trying to encourage. But thier actions shout loudly because they are so unusual in the world, so foreign to the me mentality, that it can't help but draw the other person in. It is a picture of God at work.
Lord, today help me to remember that I am holy and dearly loved by you. Since I embrace and believe this truth, that my true value lies in that statement, I no longer have to pacify my insecurities by looking for reassurance from others. I can stop focusing on myself and my needs, and focus on those of others. I can demonstrate mercy, humility, gentleness, and patience - those same taits you demonstrate to me. Lord, help me to allow you be my teacher. As the pupil, help me study what this looks like by reading your word, and seeing how you have demonstrated it to other Christians in the past. As the student, help me to put into practice what I learn.
May the Holy SPirit encourage you today and everyday as we go on to fight the battle being waged around us. Remember we are not of this world. The weapons we fight with are not of this world. They have the Divine power to demolish strongholds. I feel strong knowing that God will supply my weapons, and train me how to use them. I only need to be willing. ~Karen