Colossians 3:10 begins by telling us to “put on” the new self. The Greek word for put on means “to clothe oneself” — as if we are putting clothes on. We are to put on things that go with our new life in Christ — compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love. Imagine putting on shirts of compassion, patience and forgiveness.
So, how do we choose kindness, humility, and gentleness? It’s not as hard as it seems. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Nourish the good.
You’ve probably heard it said that what you feed grows. And that’s exactly right. When we choose to focus on the good and give that the place of importance in our lives, it grows. Just like providing the right nourishment for a newborn child causes the baby to grow strong. So, choose to nourish your spirit by listening to things and doing activities that build you up and make your spirit strong.
Neglect the bad.
To neglect something is to leave it alone and ignore it. So, that’s what we do with the unlovely attributes in our lives — we repent of them, cast them aside and turn the other way. We don’t nurture them or give them our focus. And the way we do this is to go back to point number one and nourish the good. When we focus on the good and give it life, the bad will inevitably be overlooked, cast aside and put on the back burner. So, literally imagine all of the ugly things, the sin, and the struggles that keep you from living your fullest life in Christ and cast them aside by choosing their opposite attribute.
Some choices are harder to make than others, but...we still have the choice. The act of putting on these qualities is expressed in our relationships. How we treat others — all others — is vital. Jesus said that we can’t claim to love Him if we hate other people. Our horizontal interactions with others are the primary indicator of our vertical health with God. A life that is clothed with these virtuous attributes gives life to our spirits and is for us, not against us.