What are you wearing today? Does it compliment you? Does it reveal who you are and show your best attributes? Often, we take time to choose our clothes, and match what we are going to wear with our plans for the day. Our clothes, to one degree or another, are important to us, they express our personality and say a lot about us! However, our appearance, and making the right impression with our clothes, has no lasting worth, but what we are putting on and wearing spiritually does….
What Does it Mean to Clothe Yourself with Kindness?
The imagery of clothing, of wearing, or putting on good and bad characteristics is used frequently in Scripture, both in the Old and the New Testament. The Proverbs 31 woman is clothed with strength and dignity and Isaiah prophecies that Jesus would bring a garment of praise, for those who are in despair. The apostle Paul uses the imagery of putting on our spiritual armour and that we are clothed in Christ Jesus Himself! They all bring a powerful illustration that combines God’s Sovereignty with human responsibility.
Kindness is an Attribute of God.
The definition of kindness is ‘doing thoughtful deeds for others.’ God has demonstrated His loving kindness to us. He has taken our sin-stained garments and clothed us with salvation, wrapping us in a robe of His righteousness.
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.Titus 3:4-5
When we didn’t deserve His kindness, God had a plan to reconcile us to Himself. There was nothing that we could do to save ourselves – we receive our garments of salvation by God’s grace alone.
We are Children of God
The flow of God’s love towards us is overwhelming, that we should become children of God! Not by any effort of our own but by His love and grace. Surely then our desire, the response of our hearts, is that our behaviour reflects our Heavenly Father and our position as His children. This is our responsibility – to desire to live a godly life, to live in obedience to the Lord, and to do what pleases Him.
There will be occasions when we will know that we have a choice whether to be kind or not. We can be kind with our words, but more so with our actions. When we make every effort to clothe ourselves with the attributes of our Heavenly Father, it is not in our own strength but by co-working with the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. When we are willing, God enables – grace upon grace.
Kindness is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit
The ‘fruit’ of the Holy Spirit is the godly attributes, revealed in the lives of those who choose to follow Jesus, as the grace of God transforms our lives. As we submit to the will of God, and grow in faith and our relationship with the Lord, we become more like Jesus! Kindness is listed as one of the ‘fruits’ of the Spirit. It is not always an inherent action but a virtue to develop to express God’s love by our actions!
Kindness in Action
I love the story of Tabitha of Joppa in the book of Acts, who was a dressmaker or seamstress. She made clothes, possibly to provide an income for herself, but Tabitha also gave away the clothes that she made. She clothed others, and in so doing, she clothed herself with kindness. Tabitha was a godly woman who was loved and honoured in her community. She demonstrated kindness by what she did for others – an attribute of God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Kindness is a lifestyle choice as are our hearts are touched, and stirred by God’s love, to reach out to those around us!
Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12
The letter to the church in Colossians addresses the supremacy of our Lord Jesus Christ, over and above all else. All that we need, all of God’s promises, are fulfilled for us in Jesus! Spiritually all that we need has been made available for us, through Jesus’ victory at Calvary. We have been set free from the law, from rules and regulations, and we are made alive in Christ Jesus.
But this new freedom, brings responsibility to live in a way that reflects who we now are, God’s chosen people. That now there is no discrimination in God’s sight, we are all equally loved and accepted by Him. This leads to ‘therefore’ a natural following on, a consequence of what has come before, because of all that Jesus has done for us we now respond.
The response from our hearts is to choose to be kind, compassionate, humble, gentle and patient with one another. To bear with one another, to love and forgive, because we are loved and forgiven.
“Clothe Yourself with Kindness”
This is a call to make a difference and to reach out and be kind to one another and to demonstrate the love of God as a reality. As we receive God’s amazing grace, the demonstration of His love towards us, let us make it our prayer to respond and make every effort to overflow with kindness!