My truck’s where my money goes. Got buck blood on my Sunday clothes. And directions to a honey hole that I’ll never tell. (Song by Hardy, Country Music Singer)
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Take notice of what you are wearing as you read this. What’s your style? How do you feel about what you have on or what do you think of it? What do other people think of you based on your style? I was struck by how clothing can make a person feel and act in late summer this year.
After buttoning up a lightly starched shirt, I began to tie on a navy and green striped tie. They say the color green instills confidence and trust in other people about you. I have no idea if this is true but was going to give it a whirl anyway. Then it was on with the navy suit coat one arm at a time. It was the early morning of the first day of a 3-day jury trial in Colorado Springs.
The suit and briefcase of exhibits made me feel like a trial lawyer. More serious. Ready for battle. On alert and a little on edge.
The combination of fried pickles shared with my co-counsel and good friend, Dustin, the night before along with the typical nerves of the first day of trial had my stomach churning. Stress aside, however, we were ready and we looked the part.
A little over two weeks later, still relishing a bit in obtaining justice and a great verdict for our client who was drug through the mud for over four years by a Goliath of an insurance company, I put on my best camouflage outfit and strapped on my shiny new hiking boots. It was the first day of muzzleloader hunting season and my son Ethan and I were eager to hit the trail. Time to get muddy, the way God intended it!
The camouflage and black powder rifle made me feel like an outdoorsman. More hopeful. Ready for adventure. On cloud nine.
What we wear affects the way we view ourselves. What we wear also affects how we act and what others think of us. Can you imagine if I stood up in Court decked out in camouflage clutching a gun and said “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Jury! Who’s ready for a little justice?” The jury would run out of the courtroom screaming and the Judge would throw me in jail. Or what would the country song sound like mocking the guy field dressing a buck in a full-blown suit? Maybe something similar to, “Got buck blood on my Sunday clothes…”
We usually dress appropriately for our situation; however, it goes deeper than that. What we wear can change the way we think of ourselves, how we act, and what others think of us.
Yet it goes even deeper than that. While physical clothes will decay and get destroyed by moths, our spiritual clothing is part of eternity. What’s your spiritual style of clothing? Scripture gives us some good guidance on what it should be. And it can be life changing to dress like you mean business.
The verses from Ephesians 6 quoted in part above tell us to put on the Armor of God. Despite what you may have heard, there really is supernatural evil in this world. We see it partly manifested in the natural world anytime we check the news feed. And it is waging war on the kingdom of God, including you if you are part of it. That is why we are told to put on our battle gear.
Notice that almost all the armor we put on is protective or defensive and there is only one offensive weapon in the mix. The sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. What does this say about our spiritual battle?
The verse from Colossians above tells us to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Wait a second. We are supposed to be battle ready with the armor of God AND put on all these kind clothes? William Wallace on the outside with a Mr. Rogers undershirt? It doesn’t seem possible. It isn’t, without Jesus.
Think of his warrior mentality when he actually hand-crafted a whip to force out the toxic religious leaders, their money, and their animals out of church (John 2:14-17). Talk about Maximus from Gladiator! This isn’t the nice Jesus with flowing hair, a long white robe, and polished sandles we see depicted on stained glass. He was and is a mighty warrior. Yet he also wept with others (John 11:35) and showed compassion to many, many people during his earthly ministry. We get those characteristics of Jesus when we make him leader and forgiver in our lives and they grow over time as we mature in him.
Some of the strongest warrior like men I have known have also had the most tender hearts, similar to Jesus. You probably know similar people. Ready to fight and defend against evil while showing compassion to those in need. It’s what Jesus did and will do—once and for all—one day soon. It’s also the spiritual clothing he calls us to wear in all situations while we are alive on this earth.
If you are battle ready while clothed in compassion, you will feel differently and act differently. People will notice. This prayer might be helpful:
God, I put on your full armor today so that I can take a stand against evil. I put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. I tie on the shoes of the gospel of peace which make me ready. I take up the shield of faith. I put on the helmet of salvation and take up the sword of the spirit, the word of God. I am a happy warrior. Tough and Tender. Underneath my armor, I put on the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience as I enter this day. Help me to use these clothes to show others you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I encourage you pray this or something similar daily for a month with me and let me know what you experience. Literally put on the spiritual clothing each day. You could even share this article with your small group, talk about it, and pray through this prayer each meeting together.
Director of Small Groups