I spent a decade as a teacher trying to force teenagers to comply with our private school’s dress code. On chapel days boys were forced to wear a dress shirt and tie while girls were required to put on a modest dress. Since this worship service immediately followed homeroom, male and female teachers quickly tried to address rule breakers before walking over to the sanctuary. The unpleasant experience of disciplining students distracted me from worshiping God.
Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper], Colossians 3:12.
In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul refers to a different kind of dress code. Instead of putting on a specific attire daily, Paul opens minds to putting on spiritual clothing. These articles are like layers of clothing human beings put on as the weather changes each winter. However, God’s dress code involves biblical qualities that coincide with the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:13-14.
The context of chapter 3 begins by putting on the mind of Christ. This is a starting point that requires new Christians to put to death their old self. If you can imagine this process as a form of meditation, believers need to reprogram their minds by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to commence this transformation. Unfortunately, this change can take a lifetime. While following God’s dress code may be a drag for many, the sooner you comply, your chances to improve open the door for you to experience ideal harmony.
by Jay Mankus