Our Sunday Best
Everyday dress for disciples…
March 16th, 2019
Easter is approaching quickly. Traditionally Easter Sunday stands out as the biggest attendance day in our churches. Most of us try to look our best for this annual event. While this is appropriate why do we reserve our best clothes for this particular Sunday?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
We talk about the Armor of God, and it is a critical suit which makes a profound impact on both us and the world around us. But beneath that suit of armor we need to be wearing our clothes. Better yet if those clothes are “Our Sunday Best”.
While the Armor of God describes the functional components of the suit, Paul’s letter to the Colossians outlines the appropriate apparel of the disciple to be effective in their role as representatives of Christ Jesus.
This is our ‘Sunday Best’ and it isn’t to be reserved to only Sunday, one time a year. This apparel should be what everyone around us considers typical and a trademark of our persona.
Our ability to be sympathetic to the misfortune of others drives how we come off to those around us. Self-focused people who are consumed with personal desires and passions do not project a spirit of compassion.
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Romans 12:20 (ESV)
Our compassion isn’t to be limited to only those who are close to us. This compassion is to be applied to those outside of our social structure and even extended to those who oppose us.
This passage addressing the Roman’s isn’t a recipe to get the goat of your enemies. That’s far from the purpose. It extends compassion into every corner of our lives. Compassion is what we should be immediately recognized with even by those who treat us with disdain.
It will cause some to whom we show compassion to, becoming bewildered by our actions, because the world teaches the complete opposite of compassion.
Don’t get involved. Stay in your lane. Keep your nose out of other’s business and while you’re at it don’t forget ‘an eye for an eye’!
Romans 12:20 is correct, compassion will get the goat of our enemy, but that isn’t the primary aim. What we want to project is Christ in us and that is to have sympathy for the plight of others. Time after time we read where Jesus has compassion on people.
The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It differs from compassion because it is to prefer the benefit of others as being an important part of our well-being. If we see the world through the prism of kindness, we will see ourselves as living in the place we are most beneficial to others and as a result our perspective of others and ourselves is improved.
Both compassion and kindness are closely linked.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Both focus around our interaction with other and forgiveness.
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult traits we have to master along with loving others.
But master these is what we are charged with. Jesus exemplified them and if we will be disciples of his and pattern our lives after him, we will need to embrace kindness and do so by love and forgiveness.
The minimization of our own self-importance. Jesus humbled himself to be born into our world. Our Master, all God, all man, determined that we were of more value than his standing in heaven and visited upon our planet to blaze a path whereby all humanity might have redemption and restoration of our relationship with God.
Jesus represents the epitome of humility. The why therefore is a given, if we are his disciples, then we must strive for humility in our lives.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love
Ephesians 4:1-2 (ESV)
Humility is our calling, along with gentleness and patience. The theme of compassion and kindness is carried through in humility. Simultaneously, our love for each other runs in parallel with humility.
‘The quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered’, is the dictionary definition of gentleness. The trend of this clothing is consistently matched. It all works together to present ourselves in the most positive light to others around us, and yes, even those who would oppose us.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)
The added benefit of gentleness doesn’t just soften our impact with others, it makes our way easier than it might otherwise be in the absence of gentleness.
The capacity to cope with those things that oppose our activity. We have plans, God does. God often building periods of pause, where we are expected to be idle, watch, and listen to that which is around us, what he wishes to teach us, and prepare the path before us.
I think I’m considered a patient person by most people. But let me get behind the wheel of a vehicle and I am fixated on getting to my destination and doing so in the most expedient manner possible.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Psalms 37:7 (ESV)
The thing we all need to consider is that the Lord is interactive in our lives constantly. There isn’t anything that comes in our path that doesn’t figure into the plans he has for us. Our best attitude is to approach every delay and roadblock as a potential intervention, or redirection to a divine appointment, or teaching moment.
We’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus. Our lives are his and not our own, so ‘Our Schedule’ is really ‘His Schedule’, if he sees fit to change the timeline, that is his prerogative.
Putting on “Our Sunday Best” is an everyday habit we need to practice not just on Sunday’s but as we rise every morning.
We haven’t touched upon the accessories for being the best-dressed disciple of Jesus. To complete this ensemble, we need to wear the Gospel of Jesus Christ on our sleeve so that the light of Christ living in us is obvious to all around us.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
Being clothed properly and wearing the Armor of God will prepare us to do the work we are to be about for the Lord. “Our Sunday Best” isn’t only for Sunday’s anymore!
In the Grace of Jesus,