Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Very often, God speaks of our adornment not in terms of clothes but in terms of the character traits that people see when they interact with us. So He says for instance, “put off anger, malice” (Col 3:8), in hope that we will understand that they are rags that are no longer reflective of our new status “as God’s chosen ones”.
We must of course not think in the literal term of putting off, and putting on as though it were some external physical activity. The putting off is in fact the putting to death of the old man (Col 3:5), in order that the new man in Christ can come alive – this is a deep spiritual work.
The out-working that we see as a life adorned with a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness and those other glorious virtues, is nothing but the fruit produced by the in-working of the Holy Spirit. As it is written, “when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Gal 5:22)
A tree’s true adornment is not leaves. Were it to be leaves, the Lord would not have cursed that fig tree that was full of leaves but barren of fruit. Our true adornment is not the leaves of flamboyant religiousity, but the life giving fruit that the Holy Spirit alone can produce. When we are told then that “by their fruits, you shall know them”, we glean that our true identity is in the fruit.
How then might a man let the Holy Spirit cultivate his life so that he can bear and be adorned with fruit? The lazy child of God thinks he may get it imparted by the laying on of hands, but Peter the Apostle leaves us a daily personal discipline of adding. As he says: “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 1:5-8
Heavenly father, help me to learn the daily discipline of pursuing growth in my relationship with you.