And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14
There are these attributes or virtues Paul singles out as essential to God’s chosen, holy and dearly loved people. He says we are to clothe ourselves with:
He goes on to say we must “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12:13)
And then comes the capstone, climax and chief command of the entire discourse in verse 14 that follows:
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
If we’re honest, it’s one thing to hear that, and while we know and believe it’s essential to godly Christian living, it’s sometimes extremely difficult to do.
How do you “put on love?”
The first thing I would say is there’s a kind of parallel thought to this matter of putting on love, which unites us together in the aforementioned virtues, instead of our own hardened and selfish hearts. In Romans 13:14, Paul says to:
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
With the visualization of clothing ourselves with Jesus, we gain the perspective of putting something on outwardly to represent that which has already taken place on the inside: a changed and loving heart – the heart of Christ.
The Israelites were commanded to make and place tassels on the corners of their garments. When they looked at them they’d be reminded of the Lord’s commands and to obey them. (Numbers 15:37-41)
I thought that was kind of a cool thing, but couldn’t see myself walking around town with tassels on the corners of my clothes – that would be weird. But then as I was cleaning out some things in my keepsake box I came across a set of dog tags.
I now think about them as my “God Tags” (a little corny I know). I have them two of them paired together on a chain. I’ve been wearing them around my neck for the past several months. One of them is mine from when I was in the Navy, and the other one is from my dad and his time spent in the U.S. Air Force during WW2.
To me, they are a physical reminder of a spiritual commitment to be wholly devoted to the Lord and to follow his commandments. You might say it’s also a way to “put on love” and “clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I feel them against my chest. They rattle together and make a slight clanging sound when I’m on the go. When I look in the mirror I see the chains hanging around my neck. In all of these ways, I am constantly reminded to be wholly devoted to the Lord. To give him control. To follow him. To obey, and yes, to put on love.
Do you have something like that? Something you could clothe yourself with as a reminder to put on love: love for God and love for others?
Take this #LoveChallenge by taking something that’s meaningful to you and wear it. Maybe it’s a piece of jewelry, a favorite article of clothing, or something you can fashion or make. Maybe it’s a necklace or a simple strand of leather cord you could tie around your wrist or ankle.
The possibilities are endless, but the benefits are out of this world. Let it serve as a physical reminder of a spiritual commitment to put on love by clothing yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is also a great conversation starter and way for us to share the love of Jesus with others. So my final tip on this is to make it visible. It’s first and foremost for you, but it may also serve as something others may ask you about. And when they do, you can tell them what the Lord will put in your heart to say.
Excuse me while I go now to get dressed, and to be clothed in Jesus’ love for the day.
Previous Posts in the #LoveChallenge Series of February
I’ve been writing and posting on the theme of #LoveGod and #LoveOthers – the #LoveChallenge for the month of February – #LoveFor28. Here are the other posts in this series: