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God’s Dress Code for Life

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

Blinded by Conceit

In this age of work, individuals who strive to become team players are invaluable. Being able to see the greater good makes your business, department or office more efficient and successful. Developing this mindset is like the apostle Paul’s analogy in 1 Corinthians 12:4-8. Whenever you find a role where you thrive, this is where you should excel and remain like a church body with many parts that becomes a well oiled machine. While this is the ideal scenario, seeking attention, fame or praise from others causes many to become blinded by conceit.

He must not be a new convert, or he may [develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind] as the result of pride [be blinded by conceit, and] fall into the condemnation that the devil [once] did, 1 Timothy 3:6.

In the passage above, Paul is listing spiritual qualifications that a pastor should look for as they recruit a leadership team within their church. Since Paul is writing to a teenage pastor who may be persuaded by unqualified individuals, he doesn’t want Timothy to select a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anyone can make a good first impression, but the longer you are around someone will reveal their true character and nature. Even adults who become Christians later in life have to grow up and mature by putting on the mind of Christ while purging their old self, Colossians 3:1-4.

Furthermore, he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside [the church], lest he become involved in slander and incur reproach and fall into the devil’s trap, 1 Timothy 3:7.

However, cunning individuals like the serpent in the Garden of Eden will keep on pushing the envelope. Meanwhile, Lucifer has the ability to present himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14. According to Paul, Lucifer’s fall from heaven was due to being blinded with conceit. Perhaps. when the Psalmist writes “pride comes before the fall” is eluding to Lucifer and those who follow in his footsteps. Pride can be like having blinders on, unable to see the errors of your way. Therefore, before pride becomes fully developed, snap out of this spiritual funk as soon as possible.

by Jay Mankus

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