12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 NLT
Last week, Pam and I held “Cousin Camp” at our home. We bring our older grandkids to our home to do all sorts of fun activities together. We hosted 4 children, 2 from David and Elizabeth and 2 from Jonathan and Melissa. That’s 2 boys and 2 girls with ages ranging from 8 to almost 4 years old.
Each year we have a camp motto and Bible verse for the children to memorize and to guide our focus. “Put on love” was the Motto taken from our camp verse Colossians 3:14 ESV which reads, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Pam asked me several times to explain the “above all these things” portion of the verse…I never did it. Somehow the time kept slipping away with feeding responsibilities, preparing for the next activity, and trying to referee the perfect harmony portion of children playing together. And possibly I was a little bit tired.
So, to help my grandkids understand the context of the verse and motto, I am going to take a few blogs to unpack this portion of scripture. However, for today I am limiting the rest of the reading to our motto, “Put on love.”
The words “put on” are taken from the imagery in verse 12 which states we are to clothe ourselves with… The actually greek wording of verse 14 reads “Above all these things, love”.
The word clothing in verse 12 is Endysasthe. As with many greek words it is two root words mixed together En (Inside) and Duno (to sink into). The idea is to get inside your clothing. Another idea is “to invest in clothing” which captures the idea of choosing proper clothing for the event you will be entering.
To clothe yourself or put on something is an intentional action. Just because you are a child of God, doesn’t mean that you are always loving. You must engage in the choice to be who you really are…a child of your loving Heavenly Father. Endysasthe is a verb at the beginning of verse 12 which anticipates action – yours.
To be loving does not come naturally, rather it is a choice to slip into this behavior. As God’s children it is possible and doable no matter how hard it is to forgive someone, we can chose to love them.
We ask the children and I will ask you, how do you put on love in real time? If it was an actual shirt or hat, we could physically see that we are wearing it. But it’s not. So how do you put on love and know that you are investing in it?
- By faith, ask God to clothe you with His love
- Listen to your speech which should be seasoned to give grace to others. Loving words are mutually exclusive from selfish and caustic thoughts.
- Monitor your heart. Out of it flows the issues of life. When the heart is offended, love waits for forgiveness to bring forth its healing.
- Shortness of breath is more than being out of shape, It can reveal internal conflict over offense.
- Pride, which thinks more highly of itself than it ought, rejects sacrificial and selfless love. The one who is prideful may do the right thing for the wrong reason. Their action was to bring the limelight towards themselves. This is a subtle nuance, but true love is not proud.
We had many occasions over Cousin Camp to ask – was that loving? You thought I was talking about the children, but Pam and I realized that our words toward one another when we were frustrated with “how things were supposed to be going” needed a lot more love.
The next day at church, Pam and I went to the communion table to partake of the Lord’s supper. As I led in prayer, I confessed to God and to Pam that my words and actions toward her were not loving. I also thanked God for his cleansing which comes from the blood of Jesus. He removed our sin from us as if it had never happened. There we were, realizing that we had made poor choices and recognizing that Jesus was making us clean. We did not have to do anything to earn our forgiveness. We needed to bring our wrong actions to Him and ask for Him to forgive us. We sensed His cleansing power and a renewed openness was restored to one another.
I encourage you to take some time to read these three verses. We will delve a little deeper in the next blog.
Blessings Love y’all