How can we clothe ourselves with virtue? For that matter, how can we “put on love” as instructed in Colossians 3:14? And note that Romans 13:14 tells us that we have “put on Christ,” as does Galatians 3:27.
And what virtues are we encouraged by God’s Word to put on?
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col 3:12 NIV)
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Col 3:14-15 NIV)
Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other. (Rom 12:9-10 ISV)
. . . with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love . . . (Eph 4:2 NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23 NASB)
Wow! This is an impressive list of virtues and good traits to pursue and to practice.
In the natural realm, when we want to be clothed, it is a conscious act of the will. Our clothes don’t fly through the air and attach themselves to us, right? We have to physically maneuver ourselves into the clothes, and then button or snap or zip them into place. And we have to choose exactly what items we want to wear each and every day.
As believers and followers of Jesus, we must be just as deliberate about what virtues we choose to use in every circumstance and situation in our lives. We must decide to be peacemakers, just as we must choose to be kind, humble, gentle, patient, peace-loving, joyful, faithful, and self-controlled.
As we make the decision each new day to follow Jesus, we must make the decision in every circumstance and life situation about how to react to our current challenges or trials.
In answer to our prayers to Him, the Lord will give us the grace and power that we need to weave these virtues into our lives. The Holy Spirit will guide us if we yield to Him in humility and obedience.
The Holy Spirit is the only One who can teach us and transform us into the image of Christ. And best of all, He can be trusted to guide us lovingly and faithfully. Hallelujah!