I’m guilty of frequently under-dressing. In fact, if you ever see me in a shirt with buttons on it, you can thank my wonderful wife for lovingly suggesting that I put on a different shirt before I leave the house. It’s become a routine joke between us: I avoid khakis and buttons like they’re some sort of infectious disease, but she’s there to remind me that I never get a second chance at a first impression. I seem to need that reminder every day.
One morning as she pulled a shirt from the sequestered “buttons and collar” section of my closet, we discussed how for better or worse, our clothing really can impact how people see us. I begrudgingly admit that since it’s the first thing people notice, I probably should put a little more effort into it.
I love Colossians 3:12 because I feel like it’s one of those loving reminders about first impressions that I need so badly: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Pretty cool, right? This is a heavenly answer to my daily question of “what should I wear today?” These aren’t supposed to be traits that only my friends and family see in me. I’m not supposed to only extend kindness and mercy to those I’m comfortable with. They’re supposed to be first things that people notice about me. If I’m dressed to the nines but lack these qualities, I’ve completely missed the point.
The thing is, clothing myself with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience requires conscious effort. I can’t speak for you, but these are not my “default” settings when I’m up in the morning. Just like combing my hair (when I have it), or brushing my teeth, the decision to clothe myself in God’s love requires a little bit of work in the morning. I believe wholeheartedly that the effort is worth it, though. As a believer, I’m meant to demonstrate these qualities-not to lift myself up as something to aspire to be, but rather as a small reminder to everyone I meet that there is a God that loves them.
So tomorrow, as you and I get ready in the morning, I’d like to challenge us to put our best feet forward. Let’s make the effort to make a good impression on the world. Whether we leave the house in $200 shoes or ripped up sneakers, let’s make sure we clothe ourselves in these wonderful qualities from Colossians 3:12. Let’s radiate with kindness. Let’s confuse people with our level of patience. Whether or not our shirt has buttons on it, let’s be small reminders of these beautiful qualities of our Lord.