Taking Off and Putting On

Colossians 3 talks about taking off and putting on.  It is a great metaphor. We all take clothes off and put them on each day. It is personal. It is true that in our individualistic Western society, we often read passages that had community in mind as though they were written to us as individuals. Yet, some passages are personal and do apply to each individual, even if they also apply to the community. 

 Interesting too that Galatians presents these sort of qualities as fruit. Fruit seems to connote something that the Spirit does, or conversely, that the World, Flesh, and Devil do to us and through us. Here, taking off and putting seems to be something we are more actively involved in.

The metaphor isn’t specifically applied to each trait, but I think it is a working notion throughout the whole chapter anyway.

We are to take off (my paraphrase and not quite in order):

sexual sins, wrong passions and desires, disobedience, and greed. Greed is idolatry. Idolatry is a recurring theme throughout both OT and NT. Don’t lie.

Also, take off anger. Don’t rage out. Don’t say dirty and abusive things with your mouth. (You know, like on lunch break when you want to stab someone in the back, or else in a meeting when you would really like to wring someone’s neck? Well, don’t 🙂

 Put on: mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience. Forgive, just like the Lord forgave you. Most of all, love. Let the peace of Christ control you (I admit: I don’t really know what it means to let peace control you.) Be thankful. Let the Word live in you, pouring out to others in wisdom and in song. Speak with grace (speech again!) Whatever you do (at home, work, school, play, shopping, being with friends) do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Do what you do with thankfulness to God through Jesus.

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1 comment so far

  1. Slightly less demented on

    In Galatians, I think it would be appropriate to say that we are not disconnected from the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is accomplished through an indiviual via a spirit of cooperation. This ccoperation would be, “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit.” I found it exceptionally enlightening when I found that “by the Spirit” has a strong meaning toward walking “behind the SPirit.” The SPirit leads; we follow. It is a thorough subjection to the person of God. We submit and he empowers us to obey.
    In attempting to cross over to Colossians, we submit to God and he empowers us to put on love, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience etc.

    His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2Pe 1:3

    PS Letting the peace of Christ control you, I think Phil 4:6-7 speaks to that:

    Phl 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    Phl 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


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